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ngland coach Trevor Bayliss has welcomed Ben Stokes back into the squad but has outlined the fact that he is not an automatic selection to play in the third Test.
Having been acquitted following the trial that forced him to sit out of England’s emphatic innings-victory over India at Lord’s, Stokes rejoined his teammates just hours later, something Bayliss and the selection team decided would benefit the all-rounder. Forcing his way into the starting XI is not as simple though, with Chris Woakes having notched a maiden Test ton in Stokes’ absence and Sam Curran having done phenomenally with both bat and ball in the first two Tests.
“It was a collective decision – myself, management, captain, the board, Ed Smith – everyone had a say,” Bayliss said. “It was basically thought that for his own wellbeing it was good to get Ben back around the cricket.”
“There’s nothing automatic about selections, we’ll see how he is mentally as well as physically. We’ll find out over the next couple of days, I haven’t actually spoken to him yet. We’ve got the next two days to assess where he’s at.
“It’s a good position to be in from that (a selection) point of view. We’ve got some guys in form, in the team. It will be a difficult decision to make. Whether it’s Ben or someone else.”
Bayliss is confident that his side now have the professionalism and high standards to avoid making headlines off the pitch in the future.
“Certainly since the Bristol incident there’s a lot of work been done on team culture with the two captains and that will be ongoing. We’ve had to make one or two changes – with curfews and that kind of thing – but there will be ongoing work on team culture and what it means to play for England.
“Since a couple of small indiscretions in Australia, I can sit here now and say the players have finally woken up and have learnt their lesson. Their behaviour and the way they go about their professional off the field as well as on has been top class since.”
England will secure series victory against India with a win at Trent Bridge having won the first two bouts at Edgbaston and Lord’s. The match starts on Saturday 25 August.