The England Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that England all-rounder Ben Stokes will not travel to Australia with rest of the squad for the Ashes series later this year.
Stokes, who is undergoing a police investigation, was arrested on the suspicion that he caused bodily harm last month. ECB has suspended Stokes along with opening batsman Alex Hales and both will not be considered for selection in any format of the game until further notice.
However, ECB confirmed that no final decision has been taken regarding his participation in the down under series against the Aussies. The all-rounder will travel later if he does feature in the series.
Interestingly, Middlesex pacer Steven Finn has been added to the squad that will fly to Australia and will travel with the squad later this month. The director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss while talking about Finn’s selection said, “Steven is a high-quality cricketer, with considerable experience of both international cricket and Australian conditions. The selectors believe he will add to the range of options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November.”
However, both Ben Stokes and Alex Hales were awarded ECB contracts for the 2017-18 seasons. “With the Ashes just around the corner, it’s important to give the players, the coaching staff, and supporters some clarity around a complex situation,” he said. “This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia,” Strauss confirmed the news.
Earlier, Strauss had a chat with the highly-rated all-rounder and assured him that the decision doesn’t pre-judge either any criminal proceedings or the internal disciplinary procedure that will follow it which is evident from the award of the contract.
In a separate issue, Liam Plunkett, Johnny Bairstow, and Jake Ball have been fined and issued a written warning by the ECB regarding disciplinary issues during the one-day series against West Indies.