Ben Stokes is set to return to the England side for the fourth ODI against Windies in Grenada on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1pm.
Stokes was left out of Monday’s washed-out third game at the same venue as a precautionary measure after rolling his ankle in training, Alex Hales coming into the side in his place.
But Trevor Bayliss, speaking on Monday evening, said he would be “surprised” if the all-rounder missed out again as England look to move 2-1 up in the series with one match to play.
Bayliss also intimated that he would like to give England’s fringe players a run out at some point, meaning left-arm seamer David Willey and batsman Joe Denly, unused so far, could come into consideration.
“He could have batted and fielded [in the third ODI] but he said he could feel his ankle a little bit warming up to bowl,” England head coach Bayliss said of Stokes.
“He was probably not as confident as I’ve seen him before when we asked him if he was right to play. Straight away it was an easy decision and a learning process for him about how he can look after his body a little better.
“We took a conservative approach and decided not to chance making it worse. But I’d be surprised if he’s not right for the next game.”
Windies are poised to recall hard-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell, who has returned to the squad for the final two matches of the series – Carlos Brathwaite could be the man to make way.
“Andre has proved a really good performer in white-ball cricket for Windies and obviously has a lot of experience of Twenty20 around the world,” said England batsman Joe Root. “He’s performed exceptionally well wherever he’s been. So he’ll add a lot to their squad.”
Windies coach Richard Pybus is confident his side’s 26-run victory in the third ODI in Barbados – in which left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell took five wickets and Shimron Hetmyer scored 104 not out – will not be a one-off.
“I know the right West Indies combination with a fully-focused side can beat anyone on their day,” said Pybus. “With the group of guys we have, we feel confident we can take down anyone.”
Veteran opener Chris Gayle struck 135 in the opening ODI and 50 in the second after starting his innings slowly – but Pybus reckons the “scary” left-hander could soon tee off from ball one.
“He’s just class really,” Pybus said of Gayle. “It’s always great having guys in your side who are a bit scary for the opposition, who know full well what they can deliver.
“In those first two games, Chris was getting a feel for a spongy wicket batting first. But, as we have all seen in T20, he can attack that first powerplay brutally.”
Sir Alastair Cook recieved his knighthood from The Queen in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old called time on his remarkable international career last year and becomes the 11th player to be given the honour for services to English cricket.
Cook signed off in memorable fashion against India last September with 147 in his final innings, bringing his record-breaking total number of runs to 12,472 runs from 161 Tests.
ALASTAIR COOK’S TEST STATS:
He captained England 59 times before stepping down in 2017 and is the first England cricketer to be knighted since Sir Ian Botham 11 years ago.
Cook continues to play professional cricket for Essex and recently signed a new three-year deal with his county.
His importance to the English cricket team was reflected in the New Year’s Honours list one more than one occasion before the knighthood.
He was given an MBE in 2011 and a CBE five years later before his enormous contribution to the game earned the greatest honour.
Cook scored 33 Test centuries for England having first made his debut for the team in 2006.
The opener was integral to series wins in Australia (2010-11) and India (2012), frequently putting his side in control with massive first innings totals and was the youngest player to reach 12,000 runs from any country.
He finished his international career as the fifth highest run-scorer in the history of Test cricket.
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