Stokes available for England selection, says ECB
LONDON (Reuters) – England cricketer Ben Stokes can be selected for next month’s tour of New Zealand after being charged with affray this week, the England and Wales cricket board (ECB) said on Wednesday.
“Following a full Board discussion, in which all considerations were taken into account, the ECB Board has agreed that Ben Stokes should now be considered for England selection,” it said in a statement.
Stokes and two other men are due to appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court at a date yet to be fixed after being charged following an incident outside a nightclub in the city last September.
The 26-year-old has not played for England since the incident, missing out on the Ashes tour to Australia and selection for the start of the one-day series against Australia.
He did play in six domestic matches in New Zealand in December, however.
Stokes was named this month in England’s Twenty20 squad for the Tri-series against Australia and New Zealand but his participation was dependent on whether he was charged.
The ECB said the board agreed it “would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate” for Stokes to remain unavailable, given his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial.
“ECB fully respects the legal process and the player’s intention to defend himself against the charge,” it added.
“England selectors, management and players have been informed and Ben Stokes is expected to join the squad in New Zealand for February’s T20 matches.”
Stokes said he could not wait to play for England again.
“Representing my country is one of the greatest things that I’ve ever been lucky enough to do, walking out on to the field with the England shirt on is a privilege and a honour,” he said on Twitter.
“I‘m extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to do this again.”