Kiwis not flustered by Stokes circus


The media circus that has followed England allrounder Ben Stokes will not distract the Black Caps from their task says skipper Kane Williamson.

Stokes looks set to make his long awaited return to cricket following his suspension in the aftermath of an incident outside a Bristol night spot.

Months of speculation over when and how Stokes, who still has a charge of affray hanging over him, would return to the England set up.

Stokes sparked a media frenzy when he was spotted at Heathrow airport during the Ashes series but it later emerged that he had been cleared to play a spell of domestic cricket in New Zealand while waiting to hear if he would face charges for the incident in Bristol.

It’s easy to see how this could be distracting for even England’s opponents but Williamson wants his troops focused on the tourists entire XI not just one man.

Williamson said at his pre-match press conference: “That comes back to the cricket we want to play, our plans, our styles.

“There are a number of quality match winning players in the English side who have been playing good cricket. It’s tough to focus on one name.”

Adaptability is set to be a watch word for this ODI series with New Zealand known for the marked differences in conditions that can occur, sometimes at the same ground.

The Black Caps are eager to be the more adaptable side and responding to the return of an explosive allrounder like Stokes is just one of many possible challenges.

Williamson added: “The way they’ve been adapting to conditions, which have changed a lot, has been a real strength.

“So it’s important we look to do that again, but at the same time we want to be fluid in how we operate in terms of guys perhaps being able to adjust to slightly different roles when that’s required.”

The first of five ODIs between New Zealand and England will take place on Sunday at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.