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Hope for Stokes after Hales cleared

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Ben Stokes appears closer to knowing if he will face criminal charges for a street fight after his England teammate Alex Hales was cleared of any wrongdoing.

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Hales will soon return to playing cricket after UK police ruled the batsman was no longer a suspect in relation to the brawl involving Stokes outside a Bristol nightclub.

Hales’ clearance indicates UK prosecutors are nearer to determining whether Stokes will be charged for his role in the incident in late September.

Hales is set to be included in England’s one-day squad to play Australia in a five-match series starting on January 14.

UK media is reporting Stokes will likely be a provisional inclusion in the squad, expected to be named later this week.

Hales and Stokes had been suspended by England’s cricket board after the brawl.

But the ECB has cleared Hales to return after being told by English prosecutors that Hales is no longer a police suspect. 

“Alex Hales will now be considered for England selection following confirmation that he is no longer a suspect in relation to an incident in Bristol in September,” the ECB said in a statement on Monday night.

“The ECB Board has convened via conference call to make the decision after being informed that Hales is deemed a witness and will face no charges.”

Hales has been slated to make his return to competitive cricket in the inaugural T10 Cricket League in Dubai from December 21-24.

Stokes and Hales were suspended indefinitely by the ECB pending the outcome of a police investigation into their alleged involvement in a fight outside a nightclub which left a man with a fractured eye socket.

UK police have finalised their investigation with prosecutors now deciding whether to lay charges.

The ECB ban on Stokes and Hales applied only to England matches, with Stokes returning to competitive cricket in New Zealand last Sunday.

The allrounder played a NZ domestic one-dayer for Canterbury and is expected to feature in another game for them in Auckland tomorrow.

Once prosecutors inform the ECB of the status of Stokes, an independent Cricket Discipline Commission will decide on what, if any, penalty to impose, a separate process to any court action.

-AAP

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