On Tuesday, England all-rounder Ben Stokes has pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray over a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in last September. Due to this decision, Stokes now can join the English side for the upcoming ODI series on the New Zealand soil, which is confirmed by an ECB spokesperson.
Stokes appeared in the Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday where he pleaded not guilty. Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali, the two other men who were involved in that incident, also pleaded not guilty for that incident. All of them face the same charge which is “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.”
In relation to that brawl incident, where he was accused and arrested for fighting outside a Bristol nightclub in last September, the English all-rounder was charged with affray on 15th January 2018.
The case will be now heard at Bristol Crown Court after District Judge Simon Cooper released all three of them on unconditional bail. The first hearing has scheduled on 12th March. District Judge Simon Cooper said, “I have decided that your trial will take place at the crown court at Bristol. The first hearing date will be March 12. You will be on bail.”
It means that Stokes now can join the English side for the upcoming ODI series on the New Zealand soil. An ECB spokesperson said, “Having entered his plea at Bristol Magistrates Court today, Ben Stokes will now travel to New Zealand to join the England squad. He departs tomorrow, Wednesday 14 February, and will arrive on Friday 16 February, ready to train with England teammates in Hamilton.”
Earlier, Stokes missed the full Australian tour including the ongoing T20I tri-series hosted by Australia and New Zealand jointly. Initially, Stokes was selected for the full Australian tour including the ongoing tri-series. But this incident continuously delayed his joining with his national team.
Without the service of Stokes, England lost the Ashes series by the 4-0 margin while they clinched the ODI series by the 1-4 margin. In the ongoing tri-series, England is in a tough position as they have not found a victory in their first three matches.
In the New Zealand tour, Stokes has been selected in the ODI and Test squad.
Also read: Ben Stokes Get Entry To England’s ODI Squad
While Stokes is not being considered for the ongoing tri-series, his inclusion in the upcoming matches is totally depended on the national coach and the English team management.
The ECB spokesperson stated, “Any decision to include him in upcoming matches will be made by Head Coach Trevor Bayliss and the England management team. He is not currently being considered for the ongoing International T20 Tri-Series.”
Stokes will not be required to the country for the first hearing, which is scheduled on 12th March. The ECB spokesperson said, “ECB fully respects his right to defend himself in court and any obligations he has within the legal process will always take precedence over England commitments. It has been confirmed that he will not be required to return to the UK for the first hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Monday 12 March.”