Image courtesy of: Zimbio
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced that all-rounder Ben Stokes and opener Alex Hales will be left out of the national team in all formats until further notice.
The board’s decision comes after Stokes was involved in an altercation outside a nightclub in Bristol early in the morning on Monday.
Stokes, who has been diagnosed with a fractured finger, was arrested by Somerset and Avon police and spent the night in prison as he was held on suspicion on causing actual bodily harm since a 27-year-old man sustained facial injuries.
Video footage has since emerged, which allegedly shows Stokes throwing punches at two men.
Video courtesy of: The Sun
The ECB have seen the footage, which was obtained by The Sun, and have begun their own investigation into the matter.
While Stokes was included in England’s Ashes squad and retained his position as vice-captain of the Test team, he has been asked to travel back to Bristol in the next seven days to be interviewed by detectives.
Hales, who was with Stokes at the time of the incident, has also been asked to return to Bristol. The 28-year-old was in the city on Tuesday as he was assisting officers with their investigation.
“Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for England international matches until further notice,” an ECB statement said. “Each remains on full pay pending further ECB investigation and the on-going Police investigation into an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday 25 September.
“Andrew Strauss, Director of England Cricket, will today refer the internal disciplinary procedure for these two players to the Cricket Discipline Commission, chaired by Tim O’Gorman.
“These decisions, fully supported by ECB Chairman Colin Graves, were made following the release of footage viewed by ECB for the first time on Wednesday night.”
On Thursday, media personality Piers Morgan took to Twitter to claim that Stokes was defending two gay men after they had been the victim of homophobic slurs in the nightclub.
I'm hearing that Ben Stokes intervened to help two gay guys who were being abused by yobs, one of whom was armed with a bottle.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 28, 2017
With Stokes and Hales out of the fifth and final ODI against the West Indies in Southampton on Friday, the ECB confirmed that batsman Dawid Malan will be called up to the squad.
“Dawid Malan has been called into the squad for the final ODI,” the statement said.