Magellan Ashes 2017-18
Stokes, Hales suspended by ECB
Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be selected for England until further notice following Bristol bust up
29 September 2017, 12:29 AM AEST
Ben Stokes' role in England’s Magellan Ashes campaign is in serious doubt after the England and Wales Cricket Board declared both he and teammate Alex Hales are suspended from international cricket until further notice.
Test vice-captain Stokes was included in England's 16-man squad for the Ashes announced on Wednesday, despite damaging his hand in an incident on Monday morning that led to his arrest in Bristol on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
The 26-year-old was released without charge but remains under police investigation, while Hales – who was with Stokes at the time – is assisting police with their enquiries.
In a statement on Thursday, the ECB announced the pair would not be considered for international selection until further notice. England have just one match remaining, Friday's fifth ODI against West Indies, before the Ashes begin on November 23.
Stokes was already set to miss that match having broken a finger in the incident, while Dawid Malan has been called into the ODI squad to replace Hales.
The ECB said director of cricket Andrew Strauss will refer the case to the Cricket Discipline Commission, with the decision to sideline the pair made following the release of vision published by The Sun newspaper in the UK purporting to show Stokes engaged in a street brawl.
"Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for England international matches until further notice," the ECB said.
“Each remains on full pay pending further investigation into an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday 25 September.
“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.”
Speaking before the footage came to light but after the incident occurred, former England captain Michael Vaughan said Stokes' absence from England's Ashes party could spell disaster for Joe Root's team.
"He is the key link to the England team. He's the engine room out in the middle, he produces magic with the ball, with the bat, in the field," Vaughan told Optus Sport.
"If anything over the next few months stops him from going to Australia, I have to say that I don't give England much of a chance of winning the Ashes.
"It's a situation that England have to try and deal with as quick as they possibly can.
"He's not in the good books, what he's done is completely unprofessional. You may say he was goaded into doing what he did but he was out at 2.30 in the morning in Bristol on a Sunday night.
"He's such a superstar now he can't put himself into those positions. He's that kind of character, he likes life, he likes going out and I'm certainly not one to say 'stop doing that' because I like those kind of characters.
"But with his superstar status I think he has to choose exactly where he goes, who he goes out with and unfortunately he might have to have one or two people with him stopping him doing one or two things.
"He certainly can't be missing for England to have any chance of winning in Australia."
Strauss said earlier he hoped that the situation could 'galvanise' the rest of the team.
"You can go one of two ways," he said after the squad announcement. "It can actually bring people together or it can allow people to splinter off into other groups.
"What I'm very encouraged about is how tight that team environment is at the moment.
"I'm exceptionally hopeful that they can use this to galvanise things and bring them closer together to focus their minds on what they need to achieve in Australia."
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21