Stokes lasts just seven deliveries in return amid Ashes talk
Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes made his highly anticipated return to cricket but an Ashes call-up seems a long way off if his debut for Canterbury is anything to go by.
Stokes was the drawcard at Mainpower Oval in Rangiora on Sunday, however, he lasted just seven balls at the crease during Canterbury's Ford Trophy one-day match against Otago Volts.
Christchurch-born Stokes surprisingly joined first-class New Zealand side Canterbury amid uncertainty over his participation in the Ashes series against Australia.
Stokes did not travel to Australia with his England team-mates, who suffered a crushing 10-wicket loss in the opening Test in Brisbane, while police investigated the circumstances surrounding his arrest on September 25 in Bristol.
Ben Stokes made an eventful return to cricket in NZ this morning pic.twitter.com/3PR4q0gDtE-- cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 3, 2017
The 26-year-old - suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) when footage of the incident emerged - was released without charge having been detained following an alleged fight with two men outside of a bar, while police refereed his case to the Crown Prosecution Service for "charging advice".
Batting at number four on the weekend, Stokes - with six Test centuries and three ODI hundreds for England - scored just two runs before he was bowled by Anaru Kitchen.
"Luckily, he's as an all-rounder so he'll get a go with the ball," said Canterbury Cricket chief executive Jeremy Curwin.