England cricketer Ben Stokes charged with affray over nightclub fight

Ben Stokes

Calcutta/London: England cricketer Ben Stokes can be selected for next month's tour of New Zealand after being charged with affray this week, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday.

Stokes was suspended from global duty by the European Central Bank following his involvement in an incident outside a nightclub in September that reportedly left a man with a fractured eye socket.

The ECB said Stokes' intention to contest the charge had been crucial in its decision to allow him to resume an England career that now comprises 39 Tests, 62 one-day internationals and 21 Twenty20 internationals.

Stokes, who was one of three men charged and has said he is "keen to have an opportunity to clear my name", could play for England as early as February 13 in a T20 global against New Zealand in Wellington.

Stokes was on Monday charged with one count of affray in relation to an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

"That's a board decision which I obviously had no part in", he said.

England are understood to be keen for Stokes to rejoin Canterbury in order to finalise preparations for his return away from the spotlight.

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While Stokes was not eligible for Ashes selection, he played first-class cricket in New Zealand, the country of his birth. "I can't wait to get back out on a pitch with the three Lions on my chest", his tweet read.

But the European Central Bank has cleared him to play in New Zealand despite the serious charge of affray.

England are in Australia for the five-match ODI series in which the second will be played on Friday.

The incident occurred outside the Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton area of Bristol in the early hours of the morning after England's one-day global against West Indies on September 24, and resulted in one of those involved suffering a broken eye socket.

"The board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes's availability to represent England at this stage".

"It was certainly something we'd much rather not have had to deal with but when the games came around they were fully focused on playing", he said.

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