Stokes included in England’s Ashes squad despite arrest
28 Sep 2017 - 1:51
London: Ben Stokes was included in England’s 16-man squad for the Ashes tour of Australia announced yesterday despite breaking his hand in the incident that led to his recent arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
Durham all-rounder Stokes was dropped for Wednesday’s fourth one-day international against West Indies at The Oval -- the venue for the Ashes squad announcement -- after being arrested early on Monday in Bristol.
That followed England’s win in the third ODI in the southwest city on Sunday.
Stokes, 26, remains under investigation after being released without charge.
For the time being, he has retained his position of vice-captain to Test skipper Joe Root, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cricket director Andrew Strauss told an Oval news conference.
“Ben did have an X-ray yesterday (Tuesday),” said Strauss.
“Early results are that he has got a minor fracture on his right hand,” the former England captain added.
“There are obviously more tests that need to be done, but the early indications are that he should be fit to play a full part in all the Ashes Test matches.”
The injury to Stokes’ right hand is believed to have been sustained during a confrontation that left a man in hospital.
A police investigation is unlikely to be concluded before England leave for Australia on October 28, meaning the incident could hang over Stokes for the whole tour.
Moreover, Stokes is just one on-field offence away from incurring a potential two-Test ban under the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct.
England ODI regular Alex Hales -- an Ashes long-shot who did not make the Test squad -- was also left out of Wednesday’s match after being with Stokes on Sunday night.
The pair could be among several England players who face ECB action, with Strauss saying: “What I am doing is speaking to the players individually to get their accounts of what went on.
“They may be subject to disciplinary proceedings including Ben,” explained Strauss, the last England captain to win the Ashes in Australia in 2010/11.
England’s squad contained three uncapped players in 23-year-old Somerset fast bowler Craig Overton, 20-year-old Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane, who will provide support to Moeen Ali, and Surrey wicket-keeper Ben Foakes, 24, included as cover for Jonny Bairstow.
Meanwhile there were recalls for middle-order batsmen James Vince and Gary Ballance despite the pair’s struggles during their previous Test stints.
Vince was dropped at the end of the 2016 English season northern summer following a poor run of seven Tests that saw him post a top score of 42 in 11 innings against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
This season Vince is averaging a modest 34.82 in first-class cricket for Hampshire but England believe his game will be suited to Australian pitches.