Ben Stokes' Ashes dream appears officially over with the allrounder to fly back to the UK from New Zealand today.
Stokes had been playing with New Zealand domestic side Canterbury in a bid to find some form and match fitness while he remains suspended by England for his alleged involvement in a wild street brawl in late September.
Canterbury Cricket today announced Stokes would return to the UK, understood to be to spend Christmas at home and unrelated to the ongoing investigation into his alleged late-night brawl. Stokes had been in New Zealand mixing cricket with a family holiday with his new wife and their children, with the New Zealand-born allrounder visiting his parents.
"Ben has been great around the club, the team and the staff. We can't fault his attitude or his all-round contribution in his time with us and we are sorry that he couldn't stay with us for longer but Ben knows that he will always find a welcome here should the opportunity arise for him to return" said Canterbury CEO Jez Curwin.
Canterbury's statement included comment from Stokes who said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed training and playing with Canterbury.
"Everyone here has gone out of their way to make me feel at home. It's a wonderful club and I couldn't have asked for any more from my time here."
He enjoyed mixed fortunes playing for Canterbury in their 50-over and 20-over competitions – bowled for two on his club debut and run out having faced just one ball in another dig – but also found some touch, smashing 93 off 47 balls in a T20 match.
The allrounder remains officially part of England's Magellan Ashes squad, and has been named in England's one-day squad that will play a five-match Gillette ODI series following the Ashes.
However, he is still awaiting to learn his fate following the alleged street brawl in Bristol, western England, on a night out following an England match against the West Indies in the city.
Stokes was arrested but later released, while Avon & Somerset Police have passed their file of evidence to the UK's Crown Prosecution Service, which is yet to decide if any charges will be laid.
A 27-year-old man allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket in the fracas.
England lost the first three Tests of the Magellan Ashes series to return the urn to Australian hands, and have more injury worries ahead of the Boxing Day Test with quick Craig Overton not training on Saturday.
Allrounder Moeen Ali has struggled to make an impact with the ball having cut his spinning finger and has fallen victim to Nathan Lyon in five of six innings with the bat.
Veteran quick Stuart Broad is in danger of being dropped after a substandard series with the ball while Stokes' direct replacement, Chris Woakes, has also failed to fire.
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
2017-18 International Fixtures
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21