Police tell Alex Hales he is ‘not under investigation’ over Bristol incident

Exclusive by Ali Martin
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Alex Hales batting for England against West Indies during the one-day international match at Bristol on 24 September.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: PPAUK/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Alex Hales batting for England against West Indies during the one-day international match at Bristol on 24 September. Photograph: PPAUK/Rex/Shutterstock

Alex Hales is not expecting to face a criminal charge for his part in the early hours incident in Bristol that has rocked English cricket – and left Ben Stokes unlikely to play in the Ashes – after being told that he is “not under investigation” by the police.

Hales, 28, was interviewed under caution at Patchway Police Centre in Bristol on Friday afternoon about the street fight at 2.35am on 25 September that led to Stokes being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm before being released under investigation. Stokes is still waiting to discover if he will be charged and England have said he will not travel with the Test team to Australia at the end of this month as things stand.

Ian Kelcey, the Professional Cricketers’ Association lawyer assisting Hales, has told the Observer it is “reasonable to expect” his client faces no further action, having given a witness statement and been neither arrested nor put on bail.

Avon and Somerset police, who are conducting the investigation, declined to comment when contacted on Saturday. No one has yet come forward in response to their appeal, issued on 29 September, for two witnesses to the incident to get in touch.

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It remains to be seen whether the internal disciplinary case against Hales by the England and Wales Cricket Board will now be brought forward or it continues to be in line with that of Stokes – this will be down to the independent Cricket Discipline Commission – but it is clearly in the player’s interest for things to move on this front.

After a golden summer in white-ball cricket, Hales is due to play for Stellenbosch Kings in South Africa’s new T20 Global League next month, while he is also signed up to a 10-over tournament in Sharjah in December along with his England team-mates Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy. Hales has attracted interest from Australia’s Big Bash League too, rumoured to be from Sydney Thunder, but Cricket Australia are understood to have advised teams against signing him up for what would be a fourth spell in the tournament until his situation is resolved.

While Hales is currently unavailable for international selection pending the outcome of the ECB’s internal case, he is, in theory, free to play domestic cricket as it stands. But any ban that does result from the CDC’s deliberations could yet make him unable to play overseas due to the reciprocal agreement between national cricket boards.

Hales, who, like Stokes, had his England central contract renewed on Friday, missed two one-day internationals and could have these factored into any punishment that results from the panel chaired by the former Derbyshire cricketer Tim O’Gorman.

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