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Stokes to miss Ashes if police inquiry ongoing

Ben Stokes playing for England in Australia in 2013

England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be withdrawn from the Ashes squad if he remains under police investigation when the tour to Australia begins.

The Test vice-captain, 26, was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub on 25 September.

Police have put no timescale on the inquiry and such cases can take months to be resolved.

England fly out on 28 October, with the first Test starting on 23 November.

If the investigation is concluded before the squad departs, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will assess the outcome before deciding whether Stokes is to retain his place or be dropped.

Although no formal decision has been made, the BBC understands that for Stokes to have any chance of going to Australia, he would have to face no further action or any potential court case would have to be dealt with within six weeks.

The incident outside the Mbargo club at about 02:35 BST on Monday, 25 September, left a 27-year-old man needing hospital treatment for facial injuries.

Hours earlier, England had beaten West Indies by 124 runs in their third one-day international in Bristol, with Stokes scoring 73.

And while Stokes was subsequently named in the 16-man Ashes squad two days later, the ECB launched its own investigation after seeing footage published by The Sun newspaper which allegedly shows the Durham player throwing punches at two men.

The governing body said Stokes and team-mate Alex Hales – who was with him when the incident happened – would not be considered for selection until further notice. Hales, 28, was not named in the Ashes squad.

England’s first warm-up match takes place in Perth on 4 November, before the opening Test in Brisbane.

They were whitewashed 5-0 on their last tour of Australia but are looking to defend the Ashes having regained the famous trophy on home soil in 2015.

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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