Spruce up press box — here come UK me­dia

Weekend Herald - - Sport - AAP

Ran­giora Oval will need to en­sure their me­dia fa­cil­i­ties are equipped for full ca­pac­ity when Can­ter­bury’s Ford Tro­phy cam­paign be­gins against Otago to­day.

Con­tro­ver­sial Eng­land star Ben Stokes is due to turn out for the hosts. The 26- year- old was sus­pended by Eng­land af­ter he was ar­rested and re­leased on sus­pi­cion of caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm af­ter a Septem­ber 25 brawl in Bris­tol. But he is free to play in New Zealand at do­mes­tic level ahead of any charges be­ing laid in Eng­land. The Can­ter­bury con­tract has been agreed with the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board ( ECB), en­dorsed by the New Zealand Cricket Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion and sanc­tioned by New Zealand Cricket.

Such i s the in­ter­est in Stokes’ move­ments, sev­eral of the Eng­land Ashes me­dia party are ex­pected to be sec­onded across the Tas­man.

The day- night test against Aus­tralia at the Ade­laide Oval will be go­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

But it could be a long jour­ney for a day watch­ing cricket as Stokes has been gagged by his le­gal team.

Stokes is yet to break his si­lence re­gard­ing the brawl out­side a Bri­tish night­club that left an­other man with a frac­tured eye socket. UK po­lice have fi­nalised a probe into the in­ci­dent and prose­cu­tors must de­cide whether to charge Eng­land’s vice- cap­tain.

Christchurch- born Stokes, who has be­come more ac­tive on so­cial me­dia in re­cent weeks and posted a good luck mes­sage to his team­mates be­fore the first Ashes test, signed a con­tract with the Can­ter­bury Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion ( CCA) on Thurs­day.

Do­mes­tic play­ers in New Zealand are con­trac­tu­ally obliged to per­form me­dia and pro­mo­tional du­ties, while over­seas sign­ings are gen­er­ally re­quired to do the same.

But CCA chief ex­ec­u­tive Jez Cur­win has con­firmed those rules won’t ap­ply to Stokes.

“It’s be­cause of his le­gal sit­u­a­tion,” Cur­win told UK news­pa­per The Times.

“[ We could] pos­si­bly use him for some com­mu­nity ap­pear­ances.

“We can­not put him in jeop­ardy of his court pro­ceed­ings. He’s just not al­lowed to talk about it and that’s not some­thing he can risk. Nor are we pre­pared to put him in that sit­u­a­tion.”

Stokes’ con­tract stip­u­lates he can leave Can­ter­bury at any point, mean­ing he will be free to join Eng­land’s Ashes squad should prose­cu­tors hand down their ver­dict and the ECB pun­ish him with a back­dated ban.

The ECB has made it clear it will not con­vene an emer­gency board meet­ing un­til the prose­cu­tors an­nounce their in­ten­tions.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited for him to be play­ing cricket again,” Eng­land skip­per Joe Root said of his deputy.

“It’s good for him to be out­doors and get­ting him­self ready if the op­por­tu­nity arises for him to come across [ dur­ing the Ashes].

“If not, for him to get back into play­ing cricket and get out there and away from ev­ery­thing that hap­pened, to move on, is re­ally good for him per­son­ally,” Root said of Stokes’ stay with his par­ents in Christchurch.

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