September 28th, 2017
BBC SPORT – England all-rounder Ben Stokes is said to be “fragile and devastated” and has apologised to cricket chiefs after his arrest on suspicion of assault.
Video footage allegedly shows the 26-year-old in a brawl near a Bristol nightclub in the early hours of Monday.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has activated its disciplinary procedures with regards to the Test vice-captain.
Stokes was released under investigation after he was “arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm”.
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Members of the ECB board are understood to have spoken on Thursday morning via video conference, and the footage obtained by The Sun newspaper has been reviewed at the highest levels of the organisation.
There could be an announcement later on Thursday on interim measures with respect to Stokes, who was on Wednesday named in England’s 16-man Test squad to tour Australia this winter.
If Stokes was to be removed from the squad, the decision would be taken by director of cricket Andrew Strauss in conjunction with his selectors and sent to the ECB board to be ratified.
The 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.
Ben Stokes has played 39 Tests since making his debut in Australia in 2013
Stokes was arrested at Bristol’s Mbargo club after an incident at about 02:35 BST which left another 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 all-rounder was not available for Wednesday’s fourth ODI, in which England completed a series victory over West Indies.
Team-mate Alex Hales, who was with Stokes at the Mbargo club, also missed the match and returned to Bristol to help police.
Stokes is in England’s Test squad to play Australia in a five-match Ashes series, which begins in Brisbane on 23 November.
He has a minor finger fracture on his right hand after the incident in Bristol but is expected to be fit for the tour.
The ECB is being kept fully abreast of the police’s criminal investigation and will await the outcome of that before deciding whether to take any definitive action towards Stokes.
Stokes is said to be well aware of the magnitude of what has happened. Among the ECB’s priorities are his wellbeing.
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.