The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that Ben Stokes will be considered for England selection following CPS' decision to charge him with affray for the Bristol bar incident. Earlier, Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm that left one man in the hospital.
"Following a full Board discussion, in which all considerations were taken into account, the ECB Board has agreed that Ben Stokes should now be considered for England selection," the board said in a statement.
The English talisman was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident outside Bristol nightclub, Mbargo, on September 25, 2017, which left one man injured. Later, both the CPS and Avon and Somerset Police confirmed on Monday that he had been charged with affray. Convictions for affray can carry either financial or custodial penalties of varying severities.
After the incident in September, Stokes missed the last two matches of the one-day series against the Windies and was also ruled out of the Ashes after the ECB said they would not select the all-rounder "until further notice".
"Given the CPS decision to charge him and two others with affray, confirmation of his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial, the Board agreed that it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period," ECB's statement read.
"To date, Stokes has been unavailable for selection throughout the Police and CPS process around the incident in Bristol in September, a period which has included One-Day Internationals against West Indies, the Ashes tour and the start of the ODI series against Australia.
"ECB fully respects the legal process and the player's intention to defend himself against the charge. England Selectors, management and players have been informed and Ben Stokes is expected to join the squad in New Zealand for February's T20 matches."
After the confirmation, Stokes also issued a statement saying he was very keen to clear his name from the incident but at the same time also wanted to focus on the sport.
"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 cooperated at each step of the police inquiry,” Stokes said.
"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."
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