Stokes picked by England for Ashes despite arrest

LONDON: This file photo taken on September 08, 2017 shows England’s Ben Stokes appealing unsuccessfully for the wicket of West Indies’ Shai Hope during the second day of the third international Test match between England and West Indies at Lords cricket ground in London. —AFP

LONDON: Ben Stokes was included yesterday in England’s 16-man squad for the Ashes series in Australia, two days after the allrounder was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in a late-night incident.

Stokes, who has suffered a broken finger on his right hand, remains under investigation after being released by police. His role as vice-captain is subject to a formal disciplinary process being undertaken by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Asked if any legal issues could impact on Stokes’ availability for the tour, which starts on Nov. 4, ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss said: “His selection, on this side, is based on what we are in control of and what we know at this stage.”
Strauss said the results of a scan undertaken on Tuesday showed Stokes has a “minor fracture” of a finger on his right hand and the player will undergo more Tests. “The early indications are that he’ll be fit for all of the Ashes test matches,” Strauss said. The first of five Tests starts Nov. 23 in Brisbane.

Stokes has been left out of England’s team for the one-day international against West Indies yesterday in the wake of the incident on early Monday, which took place in Bristol after an ODI there. Three uncapped players – paceman Craig Overton, legspinner Mason Crane and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes – were called up to the squad that flies to Australia on Oct. 28.
James Vince returned for the first time since August 2016 and fellow batsman Gary Ballance is back after fracturing a finger in a test against South Africa in July, giving them another chance to stake a claim for a place in England’s fragile middle order.

There was no place in the squad for batsmen Tom Westley and Alex Hales, and bowlers Mark Wood and Toby Roland-Jones. England, which won the most recent Ashes series in 2015 on home soil, will play three tour matches before the test series.
“A tour of Australia is the ultimate test for our squad,” national selector James Whitaker said. “We have provided (captain) Joe Root and (coach) Trevor Bayliss with a well-balanced squad with options in all areas.

“After a successful summer, having won the test series against South Africa and West Indies, there is real competition for places.” Strauss said the incident involving Stokes will lead to a reassessment of how England’s players will be treated regarding their free time on tour.

“My instinct, and Trevor Bayliss’ instinct, is to treat people like adults and give quite a lot of responsibility to players on and off the field,” said Strauss, a former England captain. “He believes, and I think we’ve seen that, that that sort of attitude bears great dividends on the pitch in terms of how they go about their business but also creates a harmonious environment which enables performance.

“That philosophy is a sound one. Obviously when things like this happen, you have to take a step back and go, ‘Are we doing everything right?'”

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes. – AP

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