Ben Stokes withdrawn from England’s ODI squad


Allrounder Ben Stokes has been withdrawn from England’s ODI squad for the series in Australia, and batsman Dawid Malan was named his replacement.

Stokes is still waiting to hear if he will be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for his role in an incident outside a club in Bristol, and although England had picked him in their ODI squad in the first week of December, the ECB said his selection was dependent on the outcome of the police investigation.

“Ben Stokes will not travel with the group of players leaving the UK on 2 January, pending CPS advice on the incident in Bristol in September,” the ECB said. “Should ECB receive formal confirmation that he has either, a) been charged or, b) will face no charges, the ECB Board would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability to represent England at that stage.”

The incident – which also involved England batsman Alex Hales, who was not charged by police and therefore cleared for ODI selection – cost Stokes his placein the side for the last two ODIs against West Indies at the end of the English summer, and the ongoing Ashes in Australia. There has been no update on whether Stokes will be charged or not since.

Stokes was arrested in September on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm then released on bail. Avon and Somerset police completed their investigation into the incident in November and passed a file on to the CPS for advice on whether he should be charged. The police also confirmed that a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, which occurred outside the Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton area of Bristol in the early hours of the morning after England’s one-day international against West Indies on September 25.

Stokes returned to competitive action by playing for Canterbury in the domestic one-day and T20 competitions in New Zealand in December, for which he was granted a no-objection certificate by the ECB.

His involvement, or otherwise, with England has overshadowed much of the winter. Having been initially named in the Ashes squad a few days after his arrest, footage was released by a newspaper appearing to show Stokes throwing a series of punches at a man in the street. England subsequently said he would not be considered for selection until investigations were complete.

Both Stokes and Hales will have to face an ECB disciplinary hearing, whether or not the police press charges. The ECB’s chief executive, Tom Harrison, recently suggested it could take six months to a year to resolve the situation if Stokes is charged, although he added that the board would not prevent him from playing in competitions such as the IPL in the meantime, while he is out of the England set-up.

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