Ben Stokes charged over Bristol nightclub brawl

Matthew Syed January 17 2018 12:00pm The Times Lifting Ben Stokes’ England suspension is the correct decisionnew Matthew Syed

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been made available for England selection despite being charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with affray in connection with a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub previous year.

The 26-year-old all-rounder - who missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England - is accused of affray alongside two other men.

In addition to the T20 triangular - England play Australia in Hobart and Melbourne before re-locating across the Tasman - Stokes has been included in England's Test squad for the tour of his native New Zealand.

Watch England's tour of New Zealand in full live on Sky Sports Cricket, starting with the first of three T20s on Tuesday 13th February at 6am.

The delay in Stokes' availability for the tri-series is believed to be in case there is a court appearance he would have to attend.

'Following a full board discussion, in which all considerations were taken into account, the European Central Bank board has agreed that Ben Stokes should now be considered for England selection, ' read an England statement.

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

More news: Stocks under Discussion: Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE), The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC)

The Durham all-rounder plans to contest the charge and the European Central Bank now say it "would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate" for the 26-year-old to remain unavailable.

"The board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes's availability to represent England at this stage".

"They have a person who at the moment has not been found guilty of anything in court of law and as he said in his statement he is going to contest the charge which means it is going to go on longer".

The announcement from the England and Wales Cricket Board comes just days after Stokes was charged in relation to an incident outside a Bristol night club.

Stokes responded to Monday's charge by vowing to "clear my name" and thanking family, friends, team-mates and cricket fans for their support, saying his intention now was to focus on his cricket.

Without Stokes England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.

England are now in Australia, where they lead the hosts 1-0 after the opening match of a five-game one-day series.

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