Cricket

Stokes contretemps leaves England cricket chiefs in the lurch

Ben Stokes has been dropped from the England touring side to Australia.
Ben Stokes has been dropped from the England touring side to Australia. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

England’s cricket bosses were still reeling on Friday from the shock revelations over star player Ben Stokes which have shredded plans for their defence of the Ashes trophy.

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The 26-year-old all-rounder was arrested on Monday morning on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after an alleged fight in a night club in Bristol.

He had been celebrating England's 124-run victory over the West Indies at the Brightside Ground in Bristol in which he had thrashed a swashbuckling 73.

He was released without charge on Monday afternoon.

Selectors fine-tuning the squad for the Ashes series in Australia dropped him from the touring party along with England teammate Alex Hales following video footage of the incidents outside the bar.

Hales, who was with Stokes but not arrested, voluntarily returned to Bristol to help police with their enquiries. Hales and Stokes, after a night of heavy drinking, insisted they became involved in an argument after going to the aid of two gay men who were being abused.

A 27-year-old man was later treated for severe facial injuries.

Stokes – renowned for his fiery temperament – has become a vital member of England teams and was expected to be a match-winning performer during the five Test series which starts in Brisbane on 23 November. He was appointed deputy for one day internationals under Jos Buttler in September 2016.

That promotion followed a plethora of run-ins with authorities and opponents. In 2014, he punched his locker, which resulted in a broken bone in his right hand forcing him to miss that year's World Twenty20 finals in Bangladesh.

In 2013, he and Matt Coles were sent home from a tour of Australia for unprofessional conduct and ignoring the instructions about their match preparation and recovery.

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