Ashes 2017: Ben Stokes a step closer to joining England teammates

By @saihoops on
2017 Ashes, Ben Stokes
Cricket - England Nets - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - September 18, 2017 England's Ben Stokes during nets Reuters /Jason Cairnduff

England all-rounder Ben Stokes could be on the verge of joining his teammates for the ongoing Ashes Test series against Australia, according to a report. The embattled Stokes has received the green light to play in a New Zealand domestic one-dayer on Sunday, giving hope to a potential Ashes call-up.

Stokes arrived in the country a day earlier on a private trip, to see his family, but not before he was granted a No-Objection Certificate by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) allowing him to play domestic cricket in New Zealand. Though Stokes is not serving a ban, he has stood down from playing international cricket as ECB officials await the decision of the Avon and Somerset police. 

In September, Stokes got involved in a skirmish out a nightclub in Bristol. On Wednesday, the police passed their findings of the investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice on whether Stokes should be charged. UK police revealed that a man was left with a fractured eye socket following the incident. 

Ashes 2017: ECB, Ben Stokes await verdict of CPS 

According to The Herald Sun, any charges could still be a month away, but that won't stop Stokes from representing Canterbury this Sunday in a one-day fixture against Otago. Jez Curwin, the chief executive of Canterbury Cricket, revealed that it had received the support of ECB before signing Stokes. 

“There will be people that agree, and people that won’t agree. But we feel, with the support of the ECB and their process behind it, the Players Association and New Zealand Cricket, it’s not just us saying this is the right thing to do. We sought the support from all of the bodies that we need to, and the decision has been made that we’re comfortable with. There are caveats linked to that based around his personal circumstances. We have been very open and Ben has been very open with us as well.”

According to ESPNCricinfo, a lot has to take place before Stokes can join the England Test squad for the 2017 Ashes. "Realistically, it looks most unlikely that Stokes will play any part in the Ashes series. Even if the CPS decide not to charge him -- and that decision is expected to take two to three weeks - the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission and the ECB board would have to agree to any return."

The report added that the ECB will meet within 48 hours of the CPS' decision to discuss Stokes' potential inclusion in the England Test squad. There's still no timeframe on when the CPS will announce the charges against Stokes, if any. The 2017 Ashes, a five-Test series, will now move to the Adelaide Oval for the second game starting Dec. 2.