That’s a fine mess you’ve got us into!

Brawl­ing Stokes set to miss Ashes Tour

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Stocks

BEN STOKES looks cer­tain to miss this win­ter’s Ashes tour of Aus­tralia af­ter the Test vice-cap­tain and Alex Hales were sus­pended in­def­i­nitely by the Eng­land & Wales Cricket Board.

Both play­ers were stood down un­til fur­ther no­tice pend­ing the re­sults of the ECB’s own dis­ci­plinary in­quiry into the latenight brawl in Bris­tol last Mon­day morn­ing that re­sulted in Stokes be­ing ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of caus­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm.

Stokes was re­leased un­der po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but the emer­gence of a video of the incident has left the ECB in a state of shock. The case has now been re­ferred to the board’s Cricket Dis­ci­plinary Com­mis­sion and the in­di­ca­tion is that nei­ther Stokes nor Hales will be cleared to play again un­til the out­come of that in­quiry, which has no set time­frame and ECB sources have told The Cricket Pa­per will go on for “the fore­see­able fu­ture”.

An ECB state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day said: “Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be con­sid­ered for se­lec­tion for Eng­land in­ter­na­tional matches un­til fur­ther no­tice. Each re­mains on full pay pend­ing fur­ther ECB in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an incident in Bris­tol in the early hours of Mon­day Septem­ber 25.”

It is un­der­stood Stokes, 26, is set to be re-in­ter­viewed by po­lice in the com­ing days and the devel­op­ment of any crim­i­nal case would put a fur­ther road­block on his re­call to the side. In­deed, this ap­pears the first step by a shell­shocked ECB to ban Stokes from the Ashes tour and strip him of the vice-cap­taincy.

Eng­land coach Trevor Bayliss, who was caught up in a ter­ror­ist at­tack in La­hore when coach of Sri Lanka in 2009, ad­mit­ted it was one of the most dif­fi­cult things he has had to deal with. “It’s prob­a­bly in the top two,” he said. “It’s very dif­fi­cult for ev­ery­one in­volved.”

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