Ben Stokes: England all-rounder arrives in New Zealand to see family

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Ben Stokes arrives in New Zealand

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has arrived in New Zealand but refused to comment on his future, after his arrest in September.

The 26-year-old is expected to play for Canterbury Kings this weekend.

Stokes, who was born in New Zealand, said after landing in Christchurch that he was "just looking forward to seeing Mum and Dad".

He is expected to play in the domestic Ford Trophy 50-over competition on Sunday.

Stokes' trip to New Zealand has heightened speculation that he could make an appearance in the Ashes. England trail Australia 1-0 after a 10-wicket defeat in the first Test in Brisbane.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued a statement denying Stokes was joining the squad and said he was spending time with his family.

Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on 25 September and released without charge, but remains under investigation. There has been no update from Avon and Somerset Police since.

Stokes did not fly to Australia with the England squad in October, when the ECB said he would not be selected "at this stage".

Cricketer Ben Stokes arrives in New Zealand to be greeted by his parents
Ben Stokes was greeted by his parents, Deborah and Gerard Stokes, as he arrived from Heathrow on Tuesday

Canterbury coach Gary Stead said: "We had been in talks with his agent about possibly coming to play here but there's still a bit of water to go under the bridge. I hope we can make it work.

"The Ashes wasn't discussed."

The club have a board meeting on Wednesday.

England all-rounder Chris Woakes told BBC Sport: "Having had two months away from the game, with a lot that stuff going around, it'll be great for him to get outdoors.

"It's great to see him back doing what he loves and what he's good at.

"It's good news for the squad as well. It doesn't mean he's arriving any time soon, but it means he's a little bit closer. Fingers crossed, he can get out there, play some cricket, get some form under his belt, and who knows?"

"As a player, as a friend, I'd like to see him here. No-one likes to see what he's been through.

"We'd have him here with open arms. Ben's a world-class cricketer and he'd make any team in the world better, so it'd be silly of us to not open it up for him to come into the squad."

England players have 'responsibility'

England's Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow
Chris Woakes and Jonny Bairstow both played in the first Test in Brisbane

The second Test, a day-night match in Adelaide, begins at 04:00 GMT on Saturday.

England's players have effectively been grounded after it emerged during the first Test that wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow "bumped heads" with Australia's Cameron Bancroft in a Perth bar in October.

"He's been himself, chatty as normal. He's happy to sweep whatever was at the Gabba under the carpet," Woakes said of Bairstow.

"It was blown out of proportion, as things usually are in an Ashes series. It's part and parcel of the game that we play."

England coach Trevor Bayliss said after the first Test that his players have "got to be smarter" away from the pitch.

"We're treated as grown men. We have a responsibility as England players to act accordingly," Woakes said.

"All of us have to stick to that - we have to be sensible. We have a duty to wearing the shirt."

"We're here to win games of cricket; we're not here to make up the numbers. That's what we'll look to start doing in Adelaide."

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