Stokes fined but free to play for Eng­land af­ter dis­ci­plinary hear­ing

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON, Dec 7, 2018 ( AFP) - Eng­land all-rounder Ben Stokes spoke of the "huge bur­den" he has felt since he was in­volved in a brawl out­side a night­club last year af­ter learn­ing he will not miss any more cricket.

Stokes was handed an eight­match Eng­land ban by the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB's) dis­ci­pline com­mis­sion but those games are deemed to have been served.

Team­mate Alex Hales was given a six- match white- ball ban with two al­ready served and four sus­pended.

Stokes was fined a to­tal of £ 30,000 ($ 38,000) while Hales was fined £ 17,500, £ 10,000 of which is sus­pended.

Stokes, 27, was ac­quit­ted of a crim­i­nal charge of af­fray at a trial in Au­gust fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent in Bris­tol, south­west Eng­land, in Sep­tem­ber 2017.

Hales, 29, was with Stokes dur­ing the al­ter­ca­tion but did not face crim­i­nal charges.

Af­ter the fra­cas in Bris­tol, Stokes was stripped of his po­si­tion as vice- cap­tain of an Eng­land Test side skip­pered by close friend Joe Root and also missed Eng­land's Ashes tour of Aus­tralia.

"In to­tal Mr Stokes re­ceives an eight- match ban from Eng­land matches," said a state­ment from the CDC. "He has al­ready missed these matches and there­fore re­mains el­i­gi­ble for im­me­di­ate se­lec­tion."

"The crim­i­nal charges and, sub­se­quently, the dis­ci­plinary charges have made it dif­fi­cult to make pub­lic com­ment about the is­sues," Stokes said in the same state­ment.

"I have al­ready apol­o­gised to my team­mates, coaches and sup­port staff for the con­se­quences of my ac­tions in Bris­tol."

"Cricket and fam­ily are my life," he added. "This in­ci­dent has been a huge bur­den for the last 15 months. I am re­lieved to get back to play­ing the game that I love without this hang­ing over me."

Hales, a one- day spe­cial­ist, said: "More than any­thing, I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for putting my­self in a po­si­tion which al­lowed these very re­gret­table in­ci­dents to hap­pen."

Tom Har­ri­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the ECB, said: "We ac­cept the de­ci­sions made by the cricket dis­ci­pline com­mis­sion and the sanc­tions they have given to Alex Hales and Ben Stokes.

"Each pleaded guilty, ad­mit­ted their charges and has ac­cepted their sanc­tions. They will now be avail­able to play for Eng­land, with the same sup­port as all of our play­ers."

Eng­land's next tour, in Jan­uary, is to the West In­dies, where they will play three Tests, five one-day in­ter­na­tion­als and three Twenty20 matches.

Ben Stokes was handed an eight-match ban by the ECB

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