London (AFP) – England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in Bristol and dropped for Wednesday’s fourth one-day international against West Indies.
The 26-year-old Durham star was arrested early on Monday in the Clifton district of the city and released under investigation — without charge — the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Tuesday.
Both Stokes and England opening batsman Alex Hales, 28, who was with him on Sunday night, will miss the game at The Oval.
A statement issued by Avon and Somerset police said: “We were called to a disorder in Queens Road, Clifton, at around 2:35am (0135 GMT) on Monday.
“A 27-year-old man was found to have suffered facial injuries and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary for treatment.
“A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and has since been released under investigation.”
The police statement also asked anyone who was in the Clifton Triangle area in the early hours of Monday “who saw any part of this incident” to contact them.
The incident happened following England’s 124-run win in the third ODI — where Stokes made 73 — in southwest city Bristol on Sunday that put them 2-0 up in a five-match series against West Indies.
Wednesday’s fixture at The Oval takes place just hours after England are due to unveil their squad for the Ashes tour of Australia at the south London ground.
ECB England cricket director Andrew Strauss, confirmed that both Durham star Stokes — a Test regular — and Nottinghamshire batsman Hales, a fringe candidate who played the last of his 13 Tests 11 months ago, will be considered for the Ashes squad on cricketing grounds alone by the selectors.
Strauss, reading from an ECB statement to reporters at The Oval on Tuesday, said: “Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be available for tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) one-day International match against West Indies at The Oval.
– Held overnight –
“Stokes was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning, 25 September, following an incident in Bristol,” the former England captain added as he continued to read out from the statement.
“He was held overnight and released under investigation — without charge — late on Monday and will not join the team in London.
“Hales, who was with Stokes on Sunday night, did not train this (Tuesday) morning and has returned voluntarily to Bristol today to help police with their enquiries.
“You will understand that we cannot offer further detail at this stage but will provide any updates when we can.”
Strauss, in a subsequent interview with Sky Sports News, confirmed Stokes and Hales remained available for Ashes selection, saying: “The selectors have been instructed to select the Ashes squad based on form and fitness.”
Stokes was arrested for obstructing police on a night out in 2011 and ultimately cautioned.
The following year saw him sent home from an England Lions or A-team tour in Australia, alongside team-mate Matt Coles, for repeatedly flouting curfews and bans on late-night drinking,.
Stokes was also sidelined from the 2014 World Twenty20 after breaking his hand as a result of punching a dressing-room locker in Barbados in frustration at a run of poor form.
In an interview with The Times magazine published on Saturday, Stokes was asked if his previous experience meant he no longer drank alcohol on evenings out during a five-day Test match.
“Yeah, why not?,” he replied. “We’re grown men, go out for dinner, have a few pints.
“I’m 26, not 14. I don’t have to drink Diet Cokes with dinner.”