Ben Stokes, one of the best cricket players in the world and the IPL’s most valuable player in 2017, is back in the game, as the ECB’s 13 board members decided to allow him to return to international cricket. The board issued a statement judging that “it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for him to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period.”
Stokes had been unavailable for selection following an incident last September, when he was charged with affray for getting in a fight in front of a Bristol nightclub. His comeback will significantly boost England’s chances in New Zealand, just like this amazing Bonus Code for William Hill will boost yours if you like watching and betting on cricket.
The ECB’s board agreed that it would be too harsh to suspend him for potentially 18 months (for it could take that long for the trial to reach crown court), especially as Stokes should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, suspending him for that long could give Stokes grounds to file a lawsuit for restraint of trade.
All-rounder will participate in the second half of Twenty20 tri-series and Test matches in New Zealand and is expected to join the England team on 13 February for his first match at Wellington. However, his hearing at the Bristol Magistrates Court is scheduled on the same date, and it is still not certain that he will manage to postpone it.
Stokes already skipped two one-day internationals against West Indies in England last summer and the whole winter Ashes Test series in Australia. He will not participate in the current one-day series against Australia either. After such a long break, it’s no wonder Stokes is extremely enthusiastic about getting back on the field:
“Representing my country is one of the greatest things that I’ve ever been lucky enough to do, walking out on to the field with the England shirt on is a privilege and an honour,” he tweeted after learning the news. “I can’t wait to get back out on a pitch with the 3 Lions on my chest and feeling that pride that we all get and giving everything for the team.”
Stokes is a very popular member of the team and he has the strong support of his teammates as well as of head coach Trevor Bayliss. They are all keen on having Stokes back, especially after losing the Ashes to Australia 4-0 without him. The England team badly needs Stokes back and the pressure from the England team management probably helped his case a lot.
Regarding the criticism of the decision to ban Stokes from playing at the time he wasn’t charged, only to let him play now that he is charged, Bayliss commented: “It’s a fairly complex situation, one that hasn’t been easy to work through, but we’re coming out the other end of it and hopefully we can get on with the cricket.”
Regardless of this controversy, England’s cricket fans now have one big reason to look forward to the next cricket season!