Ben Stokes has been included in England's squad for their One-Day International series against Australia, but there is no clarity on whether he will be allowed to take the field or not.
Stokes has been serving an England Cricket-imposed ban from the international game as British authorities probed his alleged involvement in a late-night fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September. Alex Hales, who was caught up in the same fracas, was also named in the 16-man squad for the five-game series, starting in Melbourne on January 14.
Selectors confirmed in a statement that they had been advised to name their strongest squad, and picked the pair accordingly. “Both Alex Hales and Ben Stokes are included, though their involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September,” said an England and Wales Cricket Board statement on Thursday.
Stokes did not travel to Australia with the rest of the squad for the Ashes series, and has missed the first two Tests, in Brisbane and Adelaide, both of which England has lost.
The ECB said in their statement that once they received formal confirmation on whether Stokes had been charged or not, they would meet within 48 hours to decide the next step.
Hales, an opener who has not played any professional cricket since the September nightclub incident, learned this week that he would face no criminal charges, opening the door for his trip to Australia.
In addition to Stokes and Hales, Sam Billings and Mark Wood were added to the squad that beat Windies 4-0 in the ODI series held in England at the end of the British summer.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
1st ODI: January 14, Melbourne
2nd ODI: January 19, Brisbane
3rd ODI: January 21, Sydney
4th ODI: January 26, Adelaide
5th ODI: January 28, Perth (Optus Stadium)