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Ben Stokes and Alex Hales dropped by England after Bristol incident

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Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered by England for international cricket until further notice after they were involved in an incident near a Bristol nightclub.

Stokes, 26, was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and video footage emerged which allegedly showed him in a brawl in the early hours of Monday.

On Wednesday, the Test vice-captain was named in England’s squad for the Ashes tour of Australia this winter.

The all-rounder and Hales, who was with him when the incident happened, will miss Friday’s final one-day international against West Indies at Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Stokes was released without charge but remains under investigation while Hales, 28, returned voluntarily to Bristol on Tuesday to provide further evidence to police about the incident.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced it is investigating the pair and will not consider selecting them, after the governing body saw footage published by The Sun newspaper which allegedly shows Stokes throwing punches at two men.

But no timeframe has been given on their potential availability, with England due to play their first Test against Australia in Brisbane on 23 November. Hales was not named in the Ashes squad.

What the ECB says

“Each remains on full pay pending further ECB investigation and the ongoing police investigation into an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday 25 September,” said the ECB in a statement.

“Andrew Strauss, director of England Cricket, will today refer the internal disciplinary procedure for these two players to the Cricket Discipline Commission, chaired by Tim O’Gorman.

“These decisions, fully supported by ECB chairman Colin Graves, were made following the release of footage viewed by ECB for the first time on Wednesday.”

England have added Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan to their squad for Friday’s match, where the hosts will look to complete a 4-0 victory over West Indies.

What happened in Bristol?

Stokes is said to be “fragile and devastated” and well aware of the magnitude of what has happened. Among the ECB’s priorities are his wellbeing.

He was arrested near Bristol’s Mbargo club after an incident at about 02:35 BST which 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.

The video footage shows a man repeatedly swinging punches towards two other men.

In the video, which police say has not been handed to them, men can be heard saying: “That’s enough Stokesy.”

The clip, which is just under a minute long, begins with one of the men – who is eventually knocked to the floor – appearing to attempt to strike somebody with a bottle.

Stokes has a minor finger fracture on his right hand after the incident but is expected to be fit for the five-Test Ashes series.

After Sunday’s one-day match, the England players were free to disperse, socialise and travel as they wished – there has been a conscious effort to treat them like adults – but with the obvious requirement that they adhere to expected standards of behaviour and professionalism.

On Thursday as media coverage about the player intensified, some outlets ran a video which allegedly shows Stokes mocking celebrity Katie Price’s disabled son. The 10-second video appeared to be from a Snapchat account. It is alleged that the clip is several months old.

bbc.com

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