London, September 28
Ben Stokes will not be considered for international matches “until further notice” after a video emerged apparently showing him fighting outside a nightclub, the England and Wales Cricket Board said Thursday. Test vice-captain Stokes was included in England’s Ashes squad announced Wednesday, despite injuring his hand in the incident that led to his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. The 26-year-old Durham all-rounder was released without charge on Monday but remains under investigation.
The Sun newspaper published the footage from outside a nightclub in the southwest city of Bristol late on Wednesday. Opening batsman Alex Hales, who was with Stokes late on Sunday after playing alongside him during England’s win over West Indies in the third ODI in Bristol, has also been suspended from international selection.
“Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for international matches until further notice,” said an ECB statement. “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.
“Andrew Strauss, director of England cricket, will today refer the internal disciplinary procedure for these two players to the cricket discipline commission, chaired by Tim O’Gorman.”
The statement added: “These decisions, fully supported by ECB chairman Colin Graves, were made following the release of footage viewed by ECB for the first time on Wednesday night.”
Neither Hales, who returned voluntarily to Bristol on Tuesday to give further evidence to police about the incident, nor Stokes were selected for Wednesday’s six-run win over West Indies in the fourth ODI at The Oval in London that gave England an unbeatable 3-0 series lead. Stokes’s hand injury may well have meant he was physically unfit for selection in any case.
England have one more international fixture — the fifth ODI against West Indies in Southampton on Friday — before the end of their home season. Their next international match will be when they start their Ashes defence with the first Test against Australia in Brisbane commencing on November 23, although they do have three warm-up tour games prior to that fixture. Hales was not included in the Ashes squad. — AFP
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