Stokes won't fly with England Ashes squad

Allrounder to be left behind when England jet out to begin Ashes defence later this month but ECB leaves door open for his involvement

Ben Stokes will not travel with the England squad when they depart for the Magellan Ashes tour of Australia, but the allrounder could still feature with no decision made on his involvement.

But England have added pace bowler Steven Finn to their squad that will depart London on October 28 as cover in light of the ongoing police investigation into Stokes' arrest in Bristol.

"Ben Stokes will not travel at this stage, though no final decision has been taken on his involvement in Australia," an ECB statement read.

Finn was famously deemed "unselectable" on England's previous Ashes tour in 2013-14 after now Australian bowling coach David Saker, then with England, encouraged the Middlesex quick to try a shortened run-up in a bid to curb his habit of kneeing the stumps in his delivery.

Stokes was arrested in the early hours of Monday September 25 after a street fight in the city that left a 27-year-old man requiring hospital treatment for facial injuries. The allrounder was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and later released but remains under police investigation, as well as an internal investigation before the ECB's independent Cricket Discipline Commission as rumours he would be axed from the Ashes tour swirled.

England Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss said he wanted some clarity around speculation of Stokes's Ashes future.

"With the Ashes just around the corner, it’s important to give the players, the coaching staff and supporters some clarity around a complex situation," Strauss said in a statement.

"This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia.

"Steven (Finn) is a high-quality cricketer, with considerable experience of both international cricket and Australian conditions.

"The Selectors believe he will add to the range of options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November.

“We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing Police investigation or Cricket Discipline Commission process, as can be seen by the award of Central Contracts."

Stokes, and Alex Hales, who both remain suspended from international duty until further notice, were today included in the list of players awarded central contracts by the ECB.

Test central contracts: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

ODI/T20 central contracts: Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

England seam bowler Toby Roland-Jones, who made his Test debut in the norther summer but is out of Ashes contention with injury, was given an 'incremental contract' where the ECB will supplement his county payments.

Seperately, Strauss announced an internal investigation into player behaviour in the one-day squad had seen three players fined and receive a formal written warning.

Bairstow, Ball and Plunkett's punishment was unrelated to the investigations into Stokes and Hales, the ECB statement said. 

No details on what behaviour lead to the fine and formal warning were provided other than that it was "unprofessional conduct".

England's limited overs squads for the five-match ODI series in Austrlaia and triangular T20 tournament also involving New Zealand that follow the Magellan Ashes Tests had not yet been finalised and would be announced "before the end of November", the ECB said.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Steven Finn, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

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 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