The Ben Stokes selection fiasco took yet another turn on Friday with ECB confirming that the all-rounder will not be travelling to Australia with the squad for the Ashes series, as the investigation of the street brawl is still pending. Meanwhile, ECB has named Steve Finn as Stokes’ replacement.
Ben Stokes' involvement in a street tussle in a fit of rage is turning dreadful with every passing day. The England Cricket Board has now confirmed that Stokes has been temporarily withdrawn from England's Ashes squad, owing to the pending investigation into that street brawl. For now, he will not be travelling with the team to Australia, although a final decision on his participation is being awaited.
"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. 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," said Andrew Strauss, Director of England Cricket, in a statement.
"We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing Police investigation or Cricket Discipline Commission process, as can be seen by the award of Central Contracts."
Stokes has retained his central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board for 2017-18 along with Alex Hales, who was involved with him in the brawl. Hales is also temporarily unavailable for selection.
Naming Steve Finn as his replacement, ECB 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.”
The brawl has caused inconvenience not only to Stokes and Hales but to other England players as well. Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett, who were with Stokes and Hales that night, received an official formal warning in written, which was accepted by them. Along with the warning, a fine has also been levied for unprofessional conduct. The amount, though, remains undisclosed to the public.
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