Ben Stokes is a “freak” and will be “invaluable” to England when he makes his return to the side, says Dawid Malan.
Stokes, 26, is joining his England colleagues in New Zealand ahead of the five-match ODI series later this month having pleaded not guilty to affray at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
The all-rounder has not played for his country since an incident outside a nightclub in Bristol in September, missing England’s 4-0 Ashes series defeat and a convincing one-day success in Australia.
Trevor Bayliss says England will work with Stokes to get him ready to play in the one-day international series in New Zealand
Stokes is also poised to sit out the whole of the Trans-Tasman T20 series, in which England have lost three from three after going down twice to Australia and once to New Zealand.
“Stokesy is probably one of the best all-rounders in the world, if not the best,” said Malan. “He is pretty much a freak when he gets going.
“The confidence and skill set he brings to the team is unbelievable. You know you have a match-winner there either with the ball or the bat.
“To have him and around the team is fantastic, especially in the shorter format. It allows you to balance the team and play another batter or another bowler. Someone like Stokesy is invaluable.
“When you are batting with him you see how good he actually is – the confidence he has is the main thing. He believes that in any situation he can win the game.”
Malan, who was England’s top scorer in the Ashes, insists he and his team-mates have not discussed Stokes’ absence too much this winter – but says they cannot wait to have him back.
“I think everyone forgot that it was his court case,” said Malan, who has struck two fifties in his three innings so far in the T20 Tri-Series.
“There was one point in the Tests when the boys were chatting around the changing room that he could still make the third [Ashes] Test. Apart from that, there’s been no chat since.
“I just think if it’s beyond your control you probably don’t speak about it. That doesn’t mean no one wants him. Everyone wants him here.”