Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been provisionally named in the 16-member England squad for the ODI series against Australia, but their participation in the series is subject to the disciplinary developments by the Bristol police. Stokes is currently playing for Canterbury in New Zealand.
Stokes has been serving a ban from international cricket as British authorities currently probe his alleged involvement in a late-night brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in September, and it remained doubtful if he would play in the ODI series. It will be decided once the judgement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), to whom his case was forwarded by the Avon & Somerset Police for charging advice, comes out.
However, an ECB release stated that they will organise a meeting soon after the police have announced the outcome and if that verdict comes in favour of the 26-year-old all-rounder, then Stokes will be reinstated to the national team and, if luck favours, then for the remainder of the Ashes series as well.
"Selectors were given clear guidance to name their strongest squad and have made their selections accordingly," an ECB release stated.
"Both Alex Hales and Ben Stokes are included, though their involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September."
However, with the ODI team of England being a settled one, chief coach Trevor Bayliss stated that the team would be bracing for “a circus” if the still-suspended all-rounder were cleared to play.
“Whether it’s any more of a circus than it’s already been, it’s hard to say. If it happens, let’s just get on with it and take it on the chin. We’ve got to adjust to that at some stage,” Bayliss said, reported AFP.
Stokes did not travel to Australia with the rest of the squad for the Ashes and has missed the first two Tests, both of which England have lost. There were speculations that Stokes was preparing for a dramatic call-up to the national squad which was further triggered by his decision to sign with New Zealand's provincial side Canterbury as their overseas player in late November. In his first limited-overs match for his birth province against Otago, he was bowled for two. However, he did better against Auckland on Wednesday, hitting 34 from 41 deliveries.