England cricketer Ben Stokes is finally moving towards resuming his cricket career, after months of being barred out by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for his involvement in the now famous (read infamous) Bristol city brawl-incident from September last year. Stokes’ return to cricket became official, when he landed in New Zealand on 16 February to reunite with his England teammates, and resume his cricket career.
Ben Stokes’ return to England cricket was marked by charges of ‘affray’ being filed against him along with the other two men who were involved in the brawl. However, after Ben Stokes pleaded ‘not guilty’ to affray in a Bristol Magistrates’ Court hearing, he was set free to thaw his frozen cricketing affairs, due to which the all-rounder had missed out on the all-important Ashes series.
On Stokes’ return to the England ODI squad for the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand, the 26-year-old was met by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) officials before a 70-mile drive to the England squad’s hotel in Hamilton.
Although he is free to play cricket without any restriction, Ben Stokes will still have to be present at a trial at Bristol Crown Court, which would take place later in the month of March. However, Stokes will do enjoy the liberty of missing out on the court hearing which is set to take place on 12th March, which means that he could also get to play some Test cricket as well.
Ben Stokes is now scheduled to head out to Hamilton, couple of days before the rest of the England ODI squad, which includes players like Joe Root and Moeen Ali. Although Ben Stokes’ return must have come as an exciting news for the England cricketers, they will have to wait till Saturday (17 Feb) to reunite with the lost one.
However, as reports and England cricket team head coach Trevor Bayliss suggest, Ben Stokes won’t be taking part in the series against New Zealand right away, as he is required to ease back into the process, with Bayliss claiming that they will do good to get Stokes up and running again. Instead, Stokes’ focus will be on pushing for selection for the ODI series against New Zealand, which begins on February 25.
As reported by Mirror UK, England coach Trevor Bayliss said, “He’s (Ben Stokes) looking forward to getting back doing what he does best. I think there’s been players in the past who’ve had off-field issues and some of those guys are able to put that aside and concentrate on cricket. Ben is one those types of guys.”
IPL 2018 team Rajasthan Royals eye Ben Stokes’ return
Ben Stokes was bagged in the IPL 2018 player auction by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping INR 12.5 crore deal, which made him one of the costliest players in the IPL 2018 player auction. Now, both Rajasthan Royals and Ben Stokes will be waiting with interest for Stokes’ trial date, as the IPL 2018 season will follow closely on the heels of the England & New Zealand cricket series.
There are also chances that the court hearings for Ben Stokes might get delayed, which could put the England cricket team and Stokes himself in the hold zone for up to an year. However, that could improve their chances of playing a series with Pakistan.