England ready to welcome Stokes ‘with open arms’, says Chris Woakes


Chris Woakes has said the England squad would welcome Ben Stokes back “with open arms” following the all-rounder’s arrival in New Zealand on Wednesday (November 29) to potentially play domestic cricket for Canterbury.

“As an England team, we’d like to see him here,” Woakes said. “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.

“The fact he’s out there playing cricket means he’s a little bit closer to Australia if he was able to join the squad,” said Woakes. “We’ve all seen he’s been training indoors, but that can only get you so far. Nothing beats playing cricket outdoors.

“He’s been himself, chatty as normal,” said Woakes. “He’s happy to sweep whatever was at the Gabba under the carpet. I think it was blown out of proportion, as things usually are in an Ashes series.

“A lot of people wrote us off before we arrived,” Woakes said.

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