West Indies v England: Ben Stokes says he has grown up before ODI series

Ben Stokes hoping to end West Indies woe
West Indies v England, first ODI
Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua Date: Friday, 3 March Start: 13:30 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

England all-rounder Ben Stokes says he has grown up as his side prepare to start their one-day series against West Indies in Antigua on Friday.

Stokes, 25, was ruled out of the 2014 World Twenty20 after punching a dressing room locker in Barbados.

He was hit for four sixes in the last over of last year's World Twenty20 final as West Indies won the title.

"I'll still have that same desire and hunger and want to get into people's faces," he told Test Match Special.

Stokes was named vice-captain of the Test team under Joe Root last month, after deputising during England's one-day tour of Bangladesh in October.

"I like to think I've grown. I think that's just from playing more and getting a few demerit points and a few tellings-off after games," he said.

But the Durham man, who famously clashed with Marlon Samuelsexternal-link during England's Test tour of the West Indies in 2015, and again during the World T20 final, added: "That's what makes me the cricketer I am and I don't want to lose that.

"I'm probably going to have to take maybe a step back a few times."

Read more: Stokes on reaction to IPL deal and England team news

Ben Stokes and Joe Root
Stokes bowled the final over in the 2016 World Twenty20, which saw the West Indies win by four wickets

Stokes is playing in his first series since he became the Indian Premier League's most expensive foreign player in February.

He was the subject of a bidding war between five IPL sides before Rising Pune Supergiants bought him for £1.7m.

Stokes says his England team-mates have joked about the fee paid for him.

"I found it tough to talk about but the group that we have, it's funny to be around them because it's just taking the mickey out of everyone," Stokes said.

"Everyone gets brought back down to earth. It's just the way we operate, which is why it's such a good environment to be in at the moment."

England won't take Windies lightly

England have won nine of their past 10 ODIs against West Indies and secured a 25-run victory when the two sides last met at the same venue in 2014.

West Indies are ranked ninth in the world in 50-over cricket, a standing that denied them a place in this year's Champions Trophy, and will field an inexperienced side after changes to national selection.

Players can only appear for the international side in limited-overs cricket if they have played the relevant format domestically in the Caribbean since 2010.

"We can't be going into this game thinking it's just going to be a walk in the park," Stokes added.

"We know how talented the West Indies team are - their batsmen can hit the ball out of the ground whenever they choose to and they've always had good quick bowlers."

Finn and Billings to start

England captain Eoin Morgan confirmed that fast bowler Steven Finn will start Friday's match in place of Jake Ball, who suffered a knee injury in a warm-up game on Monday in St Kitts, and ahead of recent call-up Tom Curran.

Sam Billings is also expected to open the batting alongside Jason Roy, with Alex Hales not yet match-fit despite joining up with the squad after recovering from a hand fracture.

Morgan said his side "have one eye on the Champions Trophy" on home soil in June but added that West Indies could prove as tough a challenge as the 2-1 series loss in India in January.

"The way we play, aggressively and positively, isn't the easiest to adapt to West Indies conditions with slow, turning wickets," he said.

"The wickets here will be more challenging here than in India - those wickets were a lot more batter-friendly than we thought they were going to be."

England probable XI: Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Steven Finn.


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