LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — England all-rounder Ben Stokes was charged with affray on Monday following an incident outside a nightclub, casting fresh doubt over his international future after he missed the side’s ill-fated Ashes tour.
Cricket chiefs said they would meet in the next 48 hours to decide if Stokes will be allowed to take part in England’s upcoming tour of New Zealand, for which he has already been selected.
The confrontation in September in the south western city of Bristol reportedly left a man with a fractured eye socket. Stokes, 26, was suspended from international cricket until further notice by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), meaning he missed the Australia tour.
“The CPS was passed a file of evidence by Avon and Somerset Police on 29 November in relation to an incident of disorder in Bristol city centre,” said a spokesman for England’s Crown Prosecution Service.
“Further material was subsequently received in late December. Following a review of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the police to charge three men with affray in connection with the incident.”
Stokes and the two other men will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on a date to be fixed following the incident in the early hours of September 25 after England had beaten the West Indies in a one-day international in the city.
Responding to Monday’s announcement, Stokes vowed to “clear my name”, telling his Twitter followers: “I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and team-mates.
“I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one — the same day as the incident — and have co-operated at each step of the police inquiry.
“I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.
“The CPS’ decision to charge me, as well as Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public. Until then, my focus is very much on cricket.”
Stokes had already been ruled out of England’s ongoing one-day international series in Australia and his next involvement in senior cricket could be in the lucrative Indian Premier League after he was cleared by the ECB to play in a second season of the franchise Twenty20 tournament.