No recall for Stokes as England name unchanged third Test squad

Nasser Hussain

The all-rounder is accused of punching Mr Ali unconscious a short time later, after an off-duty police community support officer attempted to stop the fighting.

Stokes' co-accused Ryan Ali, who was knocked unconscious in the incident, was also cleared of affray by the jury in a unanimous verdict at Bristol Crown Court.

All-rounder Ben Stokes has been left out of England's unchanged squad for the third test against India, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Monday.

Stokes was the most expensive overseas recruit in the annual player auction for the Indian Premier League this year. Stokes, who was with fellow England global Alex Hales, then got into a fight with Ali and Hale.

He said Stokes had been consistent that he had acted in self-defence from the moment of his arrest, which happened after a night out with his teammates after England's victory over the West Indies in a one-day match in the city.

A third man, Ryan Hale, 27, was acquitted of the charge last Thursday on the directions of the judge, Peter Blair QC.

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It allegedly occurred after Stokes and his fellow England player Alex Hales went to the Mbargo venue, where they had been drinking earlier in the evening, in the early hours of 25 September past year.

The jury heard Stokes had no recollection of hitting Ali and could not remember what was said during the alleged homophobic abuse.

The jurors, who will consider their verdicts on Tuesday, have been told the precise start to the violence is unknown but Mr Ali swung a beer bottle at Mr Stokes's team-mate Mr Hales.

Ali suffered a fractured eye socket and Hale was concussed after being punched by Stokes.

The decision means European Central Bank could yet make changes to the unchanged squad it named for the Trent Bridge Test against India, starting on August 18.

Any possible sanction will take into account that Stokes has already missed the Ashes tour as a result of the episode.


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