England All-Rounder Ben Stokes in Talks to Join New Zealand's Canterbury

New Zealand-born Stokes is suspended by England and not with the team in Australia after being arrested in September on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

Stokes, 26, was seen at Heathrow airport on Monday, prompting media speculation about that he was joining the England squad in Australia.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), however, said he was travelling to New Zealand to spend time with his family.

Canterbury confirmed it had opened talks with Stokes.

"Following the recent speculation surrounding Ben Stokes coming to New Zealand, Canterbury cricket can now confirm that they have been in initial informal discussions with Ben Stokes' representatives regarding his potential availability," they said in a statement.

Any deal would probably include a release clause allowing Stokes to join the England squad in Australia if the ECB wants him to.

Stokes has been told he will not be selected until further notice while police conclude their investigation into an the nightclub incident.

England All-Rounder Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, September 18. Stokes is reportedly in New Zealand for talks about playing for Canterbury. Stu Forster/Getty

England lost the first Ashes test against Australia by 10 wickets. Captain Joe Root believes Australia's Steve Smith was the difference in the first Ashes test but has warned his teammates not to make the same mistakes.

"For three days we were excellent. Bar Steve's knock we were right in it," he said at the presentation on Monday November 27.

"At 250-odd for four [we were] looking at trying to get 400 plus and put pressure on the scoreboard.

"In that position, having an 80-run lead would have been massive. It's frustrating. We have to move on quickly and make sure we don't make the same mistakes in Adelaide."

Smith praised the effort and resistance from the tourists. "We had to show some really good character throughout," Smith said at the post-match presentation.

"Obviously losing the toss, and the wicket was a lot slower than we anticipated it would be. We had to work really hard.

"I thought the bowlers did a terrific job to get them out for 300." The second test begins on Saturday in Adelaide.