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ECB yet to decide if Stokes can go on Ashes tour with police probe ongoing

The Durham all-rounder has been suspended by the ECB since his arrest in the early hours of September 25.

CRICKET 04/10/17 18:46
ECB yet to decide if Stokes can go on Ashes tour with police probe ongoing

England have yet to decide if they can take Ben Stokes to the Ashes while he remains subject to a police investigation, Press Association Sport understands.

The key all-rounder’s hopes of boarding the plane with the rest of Joe Root’s squad continue to fade with every day that ticks by to the departure date of October 28.

He is currently in England’s squad but suspended, along with one-day international opener Alex Hales, from international selection until further notice.

Stokes was arrested nine days ago on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm during disorder outside a Bristol nightclub.

The 26-year-old was released without charge but under investigation by Avon & Somerset Police, and two days later England picked him as planned in their Ashes squad and retained him as vice-captain.

It is understood that the England and Wales Cricket Board has made no firm decision subsequently, however, as to whether it can sanction Stokes’ trip to Australia before the police inquiry is first concluded.

The next update from Avon & Somerset Police is unlikely to come before mid-month at the earliest – which therefore leaves his Ashes hopes in jeopardy.

ECB director Andrew Strauss announced almost immediately last week the governing body’s own disciplinary investigation into Stokes and Hales following the disturbance in the early hours of September 25 in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol.

But it was only after a video allegedly showing footage of the incident was then posted on the Sun’s website that the ECB suspended both from future selection, pending a Cricket Discipline Commission inquiry into the incident.

The announcement of England’s new central contract list is expected by the end of this week, and confirmation of Stokes’ inclusion or otherwise as both a Test and white-ball player will of course be of particular note.