Ashes: Ben Stokes would be welcomed back to England "with open arms", says Chris Woakes

 
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Best of friends: Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes celebrate together (Source: Getty)

Ben Stokes would be given a warm welcome by England's players if he were to join the Ashes tour, according to Chris Woakes.

Stokes has landed in New Zealand where he is expected to sign a short-term deal with Canterbury and play competitive cricket for the first time since September.

His presence in a similar time zone to England's tourists in Australia has raised speculation that he could be readily drafted into the Ashes squad should he avoid police charges for his involvement in an altercation and have his international suspension lifted by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Any recall for Stokes would likely trigger a media frenzy around the England camp but Woakes says the players would be pleased to have him back.

"As an England team, we'd like to see hm here," said Woakes.

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"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.

"But there is still a police investigation going on, so from that side of things we don't know any more than you do."

Ben Stokes New Zealand Airport Arrival
Stokes landed in New Zealand yesterday (Source: Getty)

Stokes has not played competitive cricket since he was involved in an altercation outside a Bristol night club following a one-day international against West Indies on September 24.

England will remain without Stokes for the second Test against Australia in Adelaide this weekend, after appearing to miss him from their seam attack and lower order batting last week in Brisbane.

Yet Warwickshire bowler Woakes believes the all-rounder getting games under his belt to New Zealand is only good news for England.

"It's great for him that he's potentially going there to get some cricket under his belt," said Woakes.

"The fact he's out there playing cricket [means] he's a little bit closer to Australia if that time was to come that he was able to join the squad.

"We've all seen he's been training indoors, but that can only get you so far. If he was to join the squad at some point, that would be great for us."