Ben Stokes should be fit for England v New Zealand first Test, says Paul Farbrace
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 14/03/18 11:11am
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace is confident Ben Stokes will be available for selection in the first Test with New Zealand which gets underway in Auckland on March 22.
The match is taking place under floodlights, with England preparing for the contest by getting some overs in with the pink ball in the first of two two-day warm-up games in Hamilton.
Stokes, along with Chris Woakes and Craig Overton, did not feature but Farbrace confirmed all three should be in contention for the opening Test and he was also keen to stress those on the fringes of the side have the opportunity to impress ahead of the series opener.
"We are hoping all [three] of them will be fit to play some part in the next two-day game which starts in two days' time," Farbrace told Sky Sports News.
"We are pretty confident all should be OK. Overton and Woakes have had a bowl today.
"Stokes should be OK. Even if he plays as a batter, there is plenty of time next week for him to get overs ahead of the Test match in Auckland.
"People know they are playing for places. We have one or two injuries and we've had not the most fantastic series in Australia, so people do know there are places up for grabs and that's really important."
England played their first Test match under floodlights against West Indies at Edgbaston in August 2017 and followed that up with a day/night Test in Adelaide during their 4-0 Ashes series defeat this winter.
Farbrace admits they are still getting used to competing with the pink ball and trying to gauge how it will react compared to red or white ball cricket.
"Each of the games we have played with the pink ball we have played under very different conditions," he added.
"We expected the ball to swing a little bit here under lights and it will be interesting to see what happens in Auckland next week.
"It is a constant case of finding out with the pink ball."
As for his own future, Farbrace insists he remains committed to England, despite admitting he has held talks with Bangladesh about becoming their new head coach.
"There have been conversations and you are always looking to what you are going to do [next]," he said.
"For the moment, I am thoroughly enjoying what I am doing here."
Watch the opening Test between New Zealand and England, which starts on March 22. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event at 12:30am.