England quell talk of Stokes' return | cricketnetwork.com

England quell talk of Stokes' return

07 November 2017

ECB confirm there's been no change to absent vice-captain's situation despite report of upcoming internal hearing

The England and Wales Cricket Board have moved to quell speculation that star allrounder and Test vice-captain Ben Stokes is due to front an internal disciplinary hearing that might free him to join the Magellan Ashes touring party in time for the third Test.

An ECB spokesman today confirmed that nothing had materially changed in the case of Stokes, who was named in England's Ashes touring party but remains under suspension while police continue their investigations into his alleged role in a late-night street brawl in Bristol last September.

A report in News Corp. Australia newspapers today claimed that Stokes was due to face an internal ECB disciplinary hearing within days and cited "a prevailing feeling inside England cricket" that the 26-year-old would be handed a ban covering the first two Tests of the impending Ashes campaign.

That would see him join the England squad in time for the third Ashes Test that begins in Perth on December 14.

However, it seems neither the ECB nor officials travelling with the England touring party have received any formal news as to the ongoing police investigation despite recent suggestions from the Avon and Somerset Police that they might be in a position to provide an update later this week.

"I haven't spoken (to anyone) or heard of anything since we have been here," England coach Trevor Bayliss told reporters in Adelaide this afternoon, on the eve of the tourists' opening first-class fixture against a Cricket Australia XI.

"If we concentrate on that and wondering if he is coming or not, that might take the focus off what we're trying to achieve so we have just been going about preparing with the players we have got here.

"If he happens to turn up at some stage, it's a bonus. 

"If he doesn't, bad luck, we will just get on with what we have got."

Stokes was arrested in the early hours of Monday September 25 after a wild street brawl in Bristol that left a 27-year-old man requiring hospital treatment for facial injuries.

The allrounder was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and later released but remains under police investigation, as well as an internal investigation before the ECB's independent Cricket Discipline Commission.

WATCH: Alleged footage of Stokes' Bristol brawl

The fight was caught on video and the fallout saw Stokes and teammate Alex Hales suspended by the ECB indefinitely.

It is understood that Stokes, one of world cricket's foremost allrounders and a lynchpin of England's Test and limited-overs line-ups, is looking to return to net practice in coming days having suffered a broken hand in the Bristol altercation.

His replacement in the England squad, fast bowler Steven Finn, has since been ruled out of the series with a knee injury and the tourists say they'll announce a replacement for Finn in "due course".

Fellow quick Stuart Broad meanwhile said today that while Stokes' undoubted on-field skills will be sorely missed until such time as his playing ban is lifted, the character and competitiveness he brings to the squad remains even in his absence.

"Fortunately, I don’t have to make that decision," Broad said when asked how England will replace their first choice all-rounder in the five-Test series that begins in Brisbane on November 23.

"One thing I can say is you can’t replace the cricketer because he catches, bats and bowls. 

"His character is still within this team, has been part of the leadership group for a few years now.

"He has been a very tough competitor, but someone who puts his arm around people.

"The characteristics he has shown have rubbed off on other people.

"He - without sounding 'airy fairy' - is still within this group, even though he is not here in Australia. 

"It is hard to cover him as a cricketer, but you need other experienced, senior players to step up and make it their series."

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

Gillette T20 INTL Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21

About the Writer


Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.