Ben Stokes cleared to play for England by ECB

BEN STOKES is to resume his international career after being charged for affray and is due to rejoin the team next month in New Zealand.

UP FOR SELECTION: England's Ben Stokes. Picture: John Walton/PA

England have deemed him unavailable for selection ever since his initial arrest following an incident in Bristol in September but the ECB’s 13-strong management board has decided that suspension should end.

They debated the matter after the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed on Monday that Stokes would appear at a magistrates’ court at an unspecified date, along with two other men.

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An ECB statement read: “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.

“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 fully respects the legal process and the player’s intention to defend himself against the charge.”

England face Australia in the second of five one-day internationals on Friday, but Stokes is not set to link back up with the side until the latter part of the subsequent Twenty20 Tri-Series involving both sides and New Zealand.

The delay in Stokes’ availability for the tri-series is believed to be in case there is a court appearance he would have to attend.

If all goes to plan, the 26-year-old could return to England colours against the Blacks Caps on February 13 and 18.

“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,” added the statement.