Ben Stokes cleared for England comeback despite serious legal charge


Durham and England cricketer Ben Stokes has been charged with affray following an incident outside a nightclub, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Cricket chiefs said they would meet in the next 48 hours to decide if Stokes will be allowed to take part in England's upcoming tour of New Zealand, for which he has already been selected.

Stokes and two other men are due to appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court on a date yet to be fixed after being charged following an incident outside a nightclub in the city last September.

ICC ODI team of the year: David Warner (Australia), Rohit Sharma (India), Virat Kohli (India, capt), Babar Azam (Pakistan), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Quinton de Kock (South Africa, wk), Ben Stokes (England), Trent Boult (New Zealand), Hasan Ali (Pakistan), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Jasprit Bumrah (India). I'm extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to do this again.

On the same day, England play New Zealand in a T20 in Wellington, their first game in a tri-series also involving Australia.

But it is expected that players and coaches will relish having such a talent back in the squad, even though the scrutiny will intensify when they move on to New Zealand. "I can't wait to get back out on a pitch with the three Lions on my chest".

"ECB fully respects the legal process", the governing body said in a statement, "and the player's intention to defend himself against the charge".

Days earlier he wrote in another message on Twitter that he was "keen to have an opportunity" to clear his name, and had cooperated with the police. "Until then, my focus is very much on cricket".

Ben Stokes hits out for England during a limited-overs match.

Despite his recent suspension, Stokes has been named in the International Cricket Council's Test and one-day teams of the year.

Stokes missed the Ashes and was withdrawn from the current ODI squad following an incident outside a Bristol nightspot in September.