(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Ben Stokes is likely to play in England’s tour of New Zealand next month after the ECB made him eligible for selection.
The Durham all-rounder had one charge of affray brought against him by the CPS earlier this week and had been suspended indefinitely by the ECB as they waited for Avon & Somerset Police to conclude their investigation.
After missing the Ashes, the governing body gave their reasoning for making their star player available.
An ECB statement said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
While England faltered in the Ashes, Stokes has been playing cricket for New Zealand club Canterbury in white-ball competitions and could feature in England’s first T20i against the Blackcaps on 13 February.