Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Set for England Deal despite Brawl Ban

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Set for England Deal despite Brawl Ban

Article excerpt

ENGLAND are expected to include Ben Stokes and Alex Hales in their list of new annual central contracts.

Durham all-rounder Stokes' name, especially, will be the most notable when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announces this morning which players will be contracted for the next 12 months.

There are no cricketing reasons why the Test vice-captain and the one-day international opener should not both retain their respective status.

But Stokes' Ashes prospects remain in jeopardy as - with time running desperately short - England await the next stage in a police investigation following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

The key all-rounder's hopes of boarding the plane with the rest of Joe Root's squad appear to fade with every day that ticks by before the departure date of October 28.

He is currently in England's squad but, along with Hales, suspended from international selection until further notice.

Stokes was arrested 10 days ago following disorder outside a Bristol nightclub.

The 26-year-old was released without charge but is under investigation by Avon & Somerset Police, and two days later England picked him as planned in their Ashes squad and retained him as vice-captain.

The next update in police inquiries is unlikely to come before mid-month at the earliest.

ECB director Andrew Strauss announced almost immediately last week the governing body's own disciplinary investigation into Stokes and Hales following the disturbance in the early hours of September 25 in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol.

But it was only after a video allegedly showing footage of the incident was posted on the Sun's website the ECB suspended both from future selection, pending a Cricket Discipline Commission inquiry into the incident.

Stokes' chances of heading to Australia at the end of this month therefore appear slim. …

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