Saturday, 17 February, 2018

Ben Stokes named in England ODI squad to face Australia

Ben Stokes second innings for Canterbury was an improvement on his first PHIL WALTER GETTY IMAGES Ben Stokes' second innings for Canterbury was an improvement on his first
Kristopher Love | 07 December, 2017, 12:55

Controversial all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named in England's 16-man squad for a five-match ODI series against Australia in his first step towards an Ashes recall.

"Alex Hales will now be considered for England selection following confirmation that he is no longer a suspect in relation to an incident in Bristol in September", the European Central Bank said in a statement on Monday night.

Police completed their investigation last week and the case is with United Kingdom prosecutors, who are determining whether to charge Stokes. "We've got to adjust to that at some stage".

But speculation that Stokes was preparing for a dramatic call-up was fuelled by his decision to sign with New Zealand provincial side Canterbury as their overseas player in late November. If it happens, let's just get on with it and take it on the chin.

The England all-rounder made a brisk 34 against Auckland today.

Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

The first one-day worldwide between England and Australia begins on January 15 in Melbourne.

Stokes' performance was at least an improvement on his Canterbury debut last weekend when he scored only two runs in a six-ball innings and went wicket-less in nine overs in a loss to Otago.

Avon and Somerset police have completed their investigation and have now handed the files over to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether or not charges should be laid.

"I've got absolutely no idea".

The England Cricket Board has said Stokes will remain suspended pending the police investigation.

"He is obviously getting cricket under his belt, which is a really good decision. given that he could potentially come back quickly".

Hales, an opener who has not played any professional cricket since the September nightclub incident, learned this week that he would face no criminal charges, opening the door for his trip to Australia.

Fit-again paceman Mark Wood, who has been tipped to contend for a start in the third Ashes Test in Perth as England seek to bounce back from successive defeats, and wicketkeeper Sam Billings return to England's ODI squad, which will once again be captained by Eoin Morgan.