Stokes to join England squad in NZ after day in court

Ben Stokes is set to join up with the England squad in New Zealand after pleading not guilty in the Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday to a charge of affray.

Stokes, according to an ECB spokesman, will not be considered for the ongoing T20 tri-series but was included in England’s ODI and Test squad for the tour to New Zealand.

England play five ODIs against the Kiwis, starting on 25 February in Hamilton, as well as two Tests later in March – odds can be found over at the netbet bonus code 2018 site.

Stokes was making his first appearance in court after being charged with affray following an incident outside a night club in Bristol in September.

An ECB spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Having entered his plea at Bristol Magistrates’ Court today, Ben Stokes will now travel to New Zealand to join the England squad.

“He departs tomorrow, Wednesday 14 February, and will arrive on Friday 16 February, ready to train with England team-mates in Hamilton.

“Any decision to include him in upcoming matches will be made by head coach Trevor Bayliss and the England management team. He is not currently being considered for the ongoing international T20 tri-series.

“ECB fully respects his right to defend himself in court and any obligations he has within the legal process will always take precedence over England commitments.

“It has been confirmed that he will not be required to return to the UK for the first hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Monday 12 March.”

Affray is an each-way offence – meaning it can be tried either at Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court – with a maximum possible prison sentence of three years.