Stokes in­cluded in Eng­land ODI team for Aust se­ries in Jan­uary

The Press - - Sport -

Ben Stokes has been in­cluded in Eng­land’s one day in­ter­na­tional squad for the se­ries that fol­lows the Ashes tests in Aus­tralia, but the cricket all­rounder is still sweat­ing on a de­ci­sion from pros­e­cu­tors.

Stokes, who last Sun­day started play­ing cricket with Can­ter­bury in New Zealand, re­mains un­avail­able for in­ter­na­tion­als through sus­pen­sion, but was named in a 16-man squad an­nounced on Thurs­day.

The Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is wait­ing to learn if he faces charges for a brawl out­side a Bris­tol club that left an­other man with a frac­tured eye socket. The pros­e­cu­tors’ de­ci­sion will de­ter­mine if Stokes’ sus­pen­sion is over.

Stokes re­turned to New Zealand, his coun­try of birth, in Novem­ber and has since played two one day matches for Can­ter­bury in the Ford Tro­phy.

His form has been scrappy after not play­ing cricket for about two months, but ap­peared to be im­prov­ing when on Wed­nes­day he scored 34 off 41 balls and then when bowl­ing re­turned fig­ures of none for 39 from seven overs.

The Eng­land v Aus­tralia ODI se­ries con­sists of five matches with the first at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground on Jan­uary 14.

De­spite nam­ing him in the squad, Eng­land reaf­firmed it will not set­tle on any form of pu­n­ish­ment – nor con­tem­plate Stokes’ re­turn – un­til he is ei­ther charged or cleared over the Bris­tol brawl that left an­other man with a frac­tured eye socket.

‘‘I’ve got ab­so­lutely no idea. Still wait­ing for the po­lice re­port,’’ coach Trevor Bayliss said, high­light­ing the im­mense un­cer­tainty over the star’s avail­abil­ity.

‘‘When­ever he comes back that’s go­ing to be a bit of a cir­cus. Whether it’s any more of a cir­cus than it’s al­ready been, it’s hard to say. If it hap­pens, let’s just get on with it and take it on the chin.

Eng­land’s one-day cap­tain Eoin Mor­gan is also in the dark.

‘‘We are still wait­ing to see what hap­pens,’’ Mor­gan said.

‘‘He is ob­vi­ously get­ting cricket un­der his belt, which is a re­ally good de­ci­sion ... given that he could po­ten­tially come back quickly.’’

Alex Hales, who was stood down by Eng­land’s board after be­ing with Stokes dur­ing the in­ci­dent in Bris­tol, will not face charges and has also been in­cluded in the ODI squad.

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