68 Stokes’ Ashes trip put on hold
BEN Stokes will not travel to Australia with the England squad on October 28 to contest the Ashes.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has not made a final decision on Stokes’ involvement in the five-Test tour but, if he does feature, he will travel later.
All-rounder Stokes, 26, is under police investigation, having been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm last month after an ugly, early-morning incident outside a Bristol nightclub.
Fast bowler Steven Finn has been added to England’s 16man Ashes squad in Stokes’ place.
Neither Stokes nor batsman Alex Hales, who also has spoken to police in connection with the Bristol incident, is being considered for selection until further notice.
In a separate matter, the ECB also fined and issued a written warning to Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett for “unprofessional conduct” after it was confirmed the three players had been out drinking with Stokes and Hales on the night in question.
None of the England trio was with Stokes and Hales at the time of the incident outside Mbargo nightclub.
The ECB made the decision on Stokes because no further update on the police investigation is expected until at least the middle of this month.
“This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia,” England team director Andrew Strauss said.
The first Ashes Test begins on November 23 in Brisbane.