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GILLETTE ODI SERIES 2018

Stokes selected as England expect 'circus'

07 December 2017

Chris Stocks, in Adelaide


@StocksC_cricket

Chris Stocks, in Adelaide


@StocksC_cricket

Controversial allrounder and cohort Alex Hales named in England's ODI squad but coach says he's ready for the sideshow they bring

England coach Trevor Bayliss says he is ready for the "circus" that will accompany the arrival of Ben Stokes in Australia after the star allrounder was named in his country's squad for the forthcoming Gillette ODI Series against Steve Smith's team.

Stokes has been included in England's 16-man party on a provisional basis. The 26-year-old is currently awaiting the verdict of the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK on whether he will be charged or not for his part in a street brawl in Bristol in September that left a man with a broken eye socket.

WATCH: Footage of Stokes' alleged Bristol brawl

That incident saw Stokes arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and the England & Wales Cricket Board pull him out of the Ashes tour until the completion of the police investigation.

Both Stokes and Alex Hales, also involved in the altercation, were made "unavailable" for international selection by the ECB until further notice.

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

Hales, who had his suspension lifted earlier this week after confirmation by police he has been cleared of any wrongdoing, has also been named in England's squad for the five-match series that starts at the MCG on January 14.

Whether or not Stokes joins him in Australia depends on the ECB's decision once the CPS have made a call on his case.

Stokes misfires with bat and ball in comeback match

However, it is understood that even if Stokes is charged, he could remain in the squad, with his fate decided by an ECB board meeting that would take place within 48 hours of any decision by the CPS.

Regardless of whether he is cleared or not, Stokes faces a rough ride if he comes to Australia.

But Bayliss is braced for the worst and confident it would not prove a distraction to his rapidly-improving one-day team, who thanks to a Stokes century beat Australia in their last 50-over meeting at Edgbaston during the Champions Trophy earlier this year.

Stokes puts on ODI batting masterclass

"Whenever he comes back that's going to be a bit of a circus for sure," said Bayliss. "Whether it's any more of a circus than it's already been, it's hard to say. If it happens, let's just get on with it and take it on the chin.

"I'm sure there will be a fair bit of scrutiny. We won't know it actually until it comes along. There's been a fair bit of scrutiny that's come along with it in the first five or six weeks as well. But we've got to adjust to that at some stage."

Asked if he expected Stokes to play, Bayliss said: "I've got absolutely no idea. Still waiting for the police report."

Furious Stokes lets loose after low blow

While Hales may be back in the squad, he is unlikely to be in the playing XI after his place was taken by Jason Roy in the final two ODIs of the northern summer.

Roy made scores of 84 and 96 in the matches against West Indies at The Oval and Southampton and is expected to retain his place alongside Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order in Australia.

"We've been playing some good one-day cricket, and Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy at the top of the order have played well," said Bayliss. "I can't see any changes there personally."

Fast bowler Mark Wood is also named in the squad after his recovery from the heel injury he sustained during the last English summer.

It is still possible the Durham quick might be added to England's Ashes party at some stage but even if that does come to pass, his inclusion for the ODIs will be a boost for an England team who lack genuine pace.

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

About the Writer

@StocksC_cricket

Chris Stocks is a freelance cricket writer based in London. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian, Daily Mail, Independent and London Evening Standard.