Ben Stokes available for England selection, says European Central Bank


The England and Wales Cricket Board's decision to make Stokes available for selection came after he was charged with affray in relation to an incident outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25.

Ben Stokes's return to worldwide cricket could be further delayed as he faces having to be in court the day he was due to play a T20 match in New Zealand, police revealed today.

The 26-year-old all-rounder has not played for England since last summer - missing the entire Ashes campaign - after being involved in a late-night fracas in Bristol.

Although England are now involved in a one-day global series in Australia, the European Central Bank said Stokes was expected to return to England duty for February's Twenty20 matches in his native New Zealand.

"ECB confirmed in December that the independent Cricket Discipline Commission [CDC] would stay the internal disciplinary process for both Alex Hales and Ben Stokes until the conclusion of court proceedings relating to the incident".

The ECB said the board agreed it "would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate" for Stokes to remain unavailable, given his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial.

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"ECB fully respects the legal process and the player's intention to defend himself against the charge".

His absence from the England team since September will likely end on February 13 in the Twenty20 tri-series match at Westpac Stadium, where he was memorably photographed as a boy in 2003 cheering on the New Zealand Warriors league side when the family lived in Wellington.

11 October - Stokes loses his sponsorship deal with sportswear brand New Balance.

28 October - England fly out to Australia for the Ashes without Stokes. They then play Australia in two T20 fixtures before heading to New Zealand.

29 November - Avon & Somerset Police announce they have completed their investigation and have sent their findings to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Asked whether he wanted Stokes available for selection sooner, Bayliss responded: "He hasn't played any cricket for a little while either so it's basically my thought that he should probably start in New Zealand just to allow him a little bit of time to get up to speed".