Stokes included in England ODI team for Aust series in January
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.