The England and Wales Cricket Board released a statement stating that all-rounder Ben Stokes is now elligible for selection to the England team. “Following a full Board discussion, in which all considerations were taken into account, the ECB Board has agreed that Ben Stokes should now be considered for England selection,” the ECB said in a statement.
“Given the CPS decision to charge him and two others with affray, confirmation of his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial, the Board agreed that it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period,” said the board.
Stokes has been away from the England team since being detained by a police for alleged assault in September 2017. The ECB had immediatly announced that Stokes would inelligible for selection to the England team until investigation into the matter comes to a conclusion. Stokes hence missed the Ashes series and the subsequent ODI series in Australia and in the meanwhile, he was charged with affray.
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) 17 January 2018
“To date, Stokes has been unavailable for selection throughout the Police and CPS process around the incident in Bristol in September, a period which has included One-Day Internationals against West Indies, the Ashes tour and the start of the ODI series against Australia. ECB fully respects the legal process and the player’s intention to defend himself against the charge,” said the board.
“England Selectors, management and players have been informed and Ben Stokes is expected to join the squad in New Zealand for February’s T20 matches,” the statement read, “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.”
England play New Zealand in a two-match T20 series starting on February 13. This will be followed by a five-match ODI series that starts on February 25 and ends on March 7. Stokes has been in New Zealand for some time now and has played domestic first class cricket while England were playing in Australia.