Ben Stokes return will lift England, says Moeen Ali

 The return of all-rounder Ben Stokes will be a welcome boost to the England squad as he provides much-needed balance and lifts morale, teammate Moeen Ali said ahead of the two-match Test series in New Zealand.

Ben Stokes return will lift England, says Moeen Ali
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 The return of all-rounder Ben Stokes will be a welcome boost to the England squad as he provides much-needed balance and lifts morale, teammate Moeen Ali said ahead of the two-match Test series in New Zealand.

Stokes returned for the one-day internationals against New Zealand last month after a lengthy absence due to an affray charge relating to an incident in September, helping England win the series 3-2.

The 26-year-old faces a late fitness Test after sitting out the warm-up game against New Zealand XI due to a back injury. Stokes also missed the Ashes series in Australia which England lost 4-0.

"He`s always great for the team," Moeen told The Telegraph. "The balance of the team is pretty much sorted when he is in the team.

"It`s just having him in the side, knowing we`ve got a much stronger side when he`s playing. It gives everyone else a good lift, and obviously him being at slip for me, he`s very good in that position.

"He`s ready to go and ready to perform and give back to the team, which I`m sure he wants to do for what happened earlier."

New Zealand put up a fight in the ODI series, taking a 2-1 lead before England won the last two games and Moeen is expecting another tough challenge from the hosts.

"I think it`s going to be quite a tight series. I think they`ve got a very good side and some world-class players who are in good form and some very good bowlers as well," Moeen added.

"I think the difference will be how low we bat - our tail, with (Chris) Woakesy probably going to be number nine now, we bat all the way down."

Moeen, 30, will play his 50th Test in New Zealand`s first home day-night Test starting on Thursday in Auckland.

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