All-rounder Ben Stokes insists Jonny Bairstow remains a key part of England’s plans after his omission from their Test squad to tour New Zealand.

Bairstow has passed 50 with the bat just twice for England since the Sri Lanka Test in November 2018 and the 30-year-old has been dropped for the two-Test series this November against the Kiwis.

But Cumbrian Stokes, 28, says he expects “world-class” Bairstow to come back stronger.

“[In] international sport we are, obviously, playing at the highest level in our chosen profession,” said Christchurch-born Stokes, who grew up Cockermouth.

“Jonny is a world-class player, and he has gone through a difficult time over the last summer. But the saying ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ is definitely one that Jonny needs to stick by. We have seen what he is capable of doing on a cricket field.

“Everyone goes through ups and downs during their careers and, hopefully, Jonny will learn from this, [and] go away and work on what he needs to work on.

"But I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jonny will be a permanent fixture in this Test team going forward.”

Stokes, voted Professional Cricketers’ Association Player of the Year, has also spoken of his excitement for cricket’s controversial “The Hundred” competition, which launches next summer.

The new tournament will be 100-balls-a-side, with the world’s best cricketers taking part. The UK’s first-ever cricket player draft will be held on October 20.

“It’s a new concept for cricket,” Stokes, set to play for the Leeds-based Northern Superchargers, told Sky Sports.