Cricket body trying to balance ‘censure and support’
ENGLAND will make a decision regarding Ben Stokes’s future after a police investigation has concluded, England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison said yesterday.
Stokes is waiting to hear if he will be charged after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following a late-night fracas in Bristol on September 25, with a decision expected this week.
The 26-year-old all-rounder has stayed at home while the rest of the England squad are in Australia preparing for the first Ashes Test, which starts in Brisbane on November 23.
As well as the investigation by Avon & Somerset Police, the ECB will complete its own inquiry into Stokes’s behaviour before deciding whether he can play any part in the Ashes series.
“What happened was wrong, there’s no question about that,” said Harrison.
“You don’t want to see your sport in that position and there are consequences. We’re in a holding pattern at the minute.
“There’s a process with the police and then a disciplinary process. As you’ll appreciate, these things take time and that’s the pattern we’re in at the moment.”
Stokes and Alex Hales, who was also involved in the Bristol incident, have been suspended from England selec
tion until further notice.
England coach Trevor Bayliss has said he plans to be without Stokes for the entire Ashes series, while director of England cricket Andrew Strauss admitted on Monday his absence is a “blow” to the team.
Harrison insists the ECB must strike the right balance between punishing the player and providing support.
“It’s complicated,” Harrison said. “We can’t go into any kind of detail about police matters, but there are serious issues that the game has to face and we have to get it right.
“We have to get that balance between censure and support absolutely right. I think cricket’s response to this will show the value of the game in the best light.
“Having been through a difficult moment, I think we’ll see the very best of cricket come out. We are blessed with a group of outstanding characters in the men and women’s game.
“They are great ambassadors for the game and this is very much an isolated incident and an aberration.”