ECB keep Ben on cen­tral con­tract

The Cricket Paper - - OPINION - By Seth Fran­cis

BEN Stokes has suf­fered an­other blow af­ter los­ing his spon­sor­ship with sports­wear brand New Bal­ance.

Stokes, 26, was ar­rested last month on sus­pi­cion of caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent in Bris­tol and now New Bal­ance have pulled the plug on a deal which was earn­ing the all-rounder a re­ported £200,000 a year.

New Bal­ance, who also pro­vide the kit for the Eng­land team, said it “does not con­done be­hav­iour that does not match our brand cul­ture and val­ues”.

New Bal­ance’s de­ci­sion to bin Stokes came just hours af­ter the Durham man had tweeted an apol­ogy to TV per­son­al­ity Katie Price and her son Har­vey for a video that ap­peared to show him im­i­tat­ing a TV ap­pear­ance made by the dis­abled young­ster.

The tweet from Eng­land’s Test vice-cap­tain read: “I fool­ishly at­tempted to copy the clip. I should never have done this and I am so sorry.

“It was ab­so­lutely not my in­ten­tion to of­fend Har­vey, Katie or any­body else. I have writ­ten to both Har­vey and Katie to say sorry and prior to this of­fered to meet in per­son at the end of last month with a view to also get­ting be­hind their pe­ti­tion about on­line bul­ly­ing. I do hope I can put this right.”

Stokes has how­ever been awarded a cen­tral con­tract by Eng­land for 2017-18, though the ECB has said Stokes will not travel to Aus­tralia for the up­com­ing Ashes tour on Oc­to­ber 28 with the rest of the Ashes squad “at this stage”.

Alex Hales, who was with Stokes on the night of his ar­rest, has also been awarded an ODI/T20 con­tract for the next 12 months.

Cen­trally con­tracted play­ers for 2017-18

Test con­tracts: Moeen Ali, James An­der­son, Jonny Bairstow, Stu­art Broad, Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes

ODI/T20 con­tracts:

Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Jos But­tler, Alex Hales, Eoin Mor­gan, Liam Plun­kett, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Ja­son Roy, Ben Stokes, David Wil­ley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

In­cre­men­tal con­tract:

Toby Roland-Jones

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