Ben Stokes suffers in New Zealand domestic game, England's Ashes woes continue

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Ben Stokes and Alex Hales return after selectors were asked to pick strongest squad.

Stokes is not now part of England's Ashes squad as he awaits the result of the ongoing police investigation into that incident outside a nightclub following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on 25 September.

"Alex Hales will now be considered for England selection following confirmation that he is no longer a suspect in relation to an incident in Bristol in September", the European Central Bank said in a statement on Monday night.

Bairstow, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jake Ball are the only members of England's test squad who will stay on for the ODI series.

Stokes did not travel to Australia with the rest of the squad for the Ashes series, and has missed the first two Tests, in Brisbane and Adelaide, both of which England have lost.

"Whether it's any more of a circus than it's already been, it's hard to say".

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Stokes endured yet another tough outing for Canterbury as he continues to get game time in New Zealand's 50-over Ford Trophy. If it happens, let's just get on with it and take it on the chin.

Stokes' performance was at least an improvement on his Canterbury debut last weekend when he scored only two runs in a six-ball innings and went wicket-less in nine overs in a loss to Otago.

He did better against Auckland on Wednesday, hitting 34 from 41 deliveries as he shakes off the rust. While the charges against Stokes were severe, Hales did not suffer any charges from the officials. British detectives late last month passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision, but there has been no word since.

"Should the ECB Board receive formal confirmation that Ben Stokes has either been charged or that he will face no charges, they would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability for the team at that stage", the ECB said.

Reports have suggested that England may draft in Stokes ahead of the third Ashes 2017-18 Test at Perth, but the England and Wales Cricket Board awaits police decision, which will be followed by their own inquiry.

The news has come as a big relief for the English cricket fans. "The forthcoming series against Australia presents another significant opportunity for this group to showcase their skills and talent against a quality side away from home".

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