Auckland not distracted by Ben Stokes heading into crucial clash with Canterbury

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NZN

Auckland prefer to talk up their pace bowler Lockie Ferguson rather than get caught in the whirlwind of interest surrounding Canterbury allrounder Ben Stokes.

The England all-rounder will pad up for Canterbury against Auckland this week.
Source: 1 NEWS

The teams meet in a domestic one-day match at Eden Park Outer Oval on Wednesday in a match which will carry more attention than usual.

Canterbury are expected to include English international Stokes for a second game, with the 26-year-old keen to keep himself in match shape while his international fate remains in limbo.

Stokes struggled with both bat and ball in his Canterbury debut against Otago in Rangiora on Sunday.

Auckland captain Craig Cachopa says Stokes, and his team-mates, are likely to bounce back following a heavy loss.

"The whole Canterbury side will be hurting after losing first up to the Volts," he said.

"Ben Stokes is a class player and it will be interesting to see how he goes but there's 10 others out there so our focus can't be on just one man."

Auckland, who lead the competition after opening with a hefty win over Central Districts, are boosted by the return of Ferguson.

The pace bowler was in devastating first class form before being called into the New Zealand squad but he was omitted from the first Test win over the West Indies.

"Any skipper would be stoked to have Lockie at his disposal," Cachopa said.

"He offers us the obvious pace and bounce but also has plenty of experience bowling at this level which is invaluable."

Meanwhile, Auckland have announced the signing of teenage English allrounder Sam Curran for their Twenty20 campaign this summer.

The uncapped Curran, 19, has impressed with his left-arm pace bowling and big-hitting for Surrey, as well as England A.

He is the son of former Zimbabwe international Kevin Curran.

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