Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Warm Welcome Awaits If Stokes Rejoins Squad

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Warm Welcome Awaits If Stokes Rejoins Squad

Article excerpt

Byline: David Clough in Adelaide

BEN Stokes' England teammates will welcome him back onto their Ashes tour like a shot, but are still wary of interpreting his flight to New Zealand as a stepping stone to Australia.

While Stokes was disembarking in his native Christchurch to see his extended family and - more significantly to the wider world - agree a deal to play for Canterbury Kings, Chris Woakes was responding in Adelaide to the all-rounder's surprise long-haul journey from Durham.

England are preparing for this week's inaugural day-night Ashes Test, already 1-0 down after their 10-wicket defeat in Brisbane, and Woakes acknowledged Stokes' assistance at some point in the series would be a huge help.

The mercurial match-winner is expected to play for Canterbury in New Zealand's domestic Ford Trophy on Sunday - also the second day of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.

If he is to play any part in the Ashes, he must surely first of all be cleared of any criminal charge after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm during a latenight fracas in Bristol in September. Detectives investigating an incident outside a Bristol nightclub have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on charging, Avon & Somerset Police said yesterday.

The CPS will now decide whether or not to charge Stokes and if the 26-year-old will be able to play any part in the Ashes.

"Today (29/11) we have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and are now seeking charging advice," said an Avon & Somerset Police statement.

Should Stokes not face charges, the England and Wales Cricket Board has a contingency to call a board meeting within 48 hours to determine its next move - dependent too on a Cricket Discipline Commission, which can take place only once the police investigation is concluded.

That all left Woakes speaking, as England have on this topic for much of the past two months, largely about conjecture. …

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