ECB to decide Ben Stokes' England future after all-rounder is charged with affray

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Ben Stokes was involved in a brawl outside a bar in Bristol on 25 September.
Ben Stokes was involved in a brawl outside a bar in Bristol on 25 September.

Ben Stokes’ immediate England future is set to be decided after the all-rounder was charged with affray.

Stokes, 26, was handed the charges on Monday and will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court at a later date.

The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement: “The CPS was passed a file of evidence by Avon & Somerset Police on November 29, 2017 in relation to an incident of disorder in Bristol city centre.

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“Further material was subsequently received in late December. Following a review of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the police to charge three men with affray in connection with the incident.”

Stokes was arrested following the incident, which occurred in the early hours of September 25 some time after England beat the West Indies in a one-day international in Bristol.

He was subsequently suspended by the ECB as police conducted inquiries, missing England’s 4-0 Ashes drubbing in Australia.

‘At least my account…can come out’

The Christchurch-born cricketer responded to the charges with a statement via Twitter.

He wrote: “I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and teammates.

‘I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one – the same day as the incident – and have cooperate at each step of the police inquiry. I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.

“The CPS’ decision to charge me, as well as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public. Until then, my focus is very much on cricket.”

Avon and Somerset Police added in a statement: “Three men have today been charged in connection with an incident of disorder on Queens Road, Bristol on September 25 last year.

“Having carefully considered the evidence, the CPS has today authorised Ben Stokes, 26, of Durham, Ryan Ali, 28 and Ryan Hale, 26, both of Bristol, to each be charged with one count of affray.

“They will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court at a date to be confirmed.”

England future decision to be ‘made in due course’

Stokes was originally named in England’s ODI and T20I squad for the post-Ashes tour, but was withdrawn from the former, before being named in the Test squad to face New Zealand.

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The charges leave his playing future in the balance, and the ECB confirmed they will reassess Stokes’ availability to play for his country within the next 48 hours.

An ECB spokesman said: “ECB is aware that Ben Stokes has been charged with affray in relation to an incident in Bristol in September.

“The Board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes’ availability to represent England at this stage.

“A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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