29 Nov 2017

Stokes to play for Canterbury?

6:23 am on 29 November 2017

Canterbury Cricket has approached England all-rounder Ben Stokes about his availability to play for them.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand-born Stokes has been stood down by England and not with the team in Australia after being arrested in September on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.

Stokes was seen at Heathrow airport on Monday, prompting media speculation about that he was joining the England squad in Australia.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), however, said he was travelling to New Zealand to spend time with his family.

He's due to arrive in Christchurch today.

Canterbury confirmed they had opened talks with Stokes.

"Following the recent speculation surrounding Ben Stokes coming to New Zealand, Canterbury cricket can now confirm that they have been in initial informal discussions with Ben Stokes' representatives regarding his potential availability," they said in a statement.

Any deal would probably include a release clause allowing Stokes to join the England squad in Australia if the ECB wants him to.

Stokes has been told he will not be selected until further notice while police conclude their investigation into an the nightclub incident.

England lost the first Ashes test against Australia by 10 wickets. The second test begins on Saturday in Adelaide.

There is speculation that if cleared Stokes will be available for the third test.

It remains possible Stokes will either train or play with Gary Stead's Canterbury team.

"He's a world-class allrounder. I think we'd be stupid not to consider it (Stokes playing)," Stead said.

"We've got a very young team at the moment. If he wanted to have some sessions with us, I think we'd be silly not to."

Stokes moved to England with his parents as a 12-year-old after his New Zealand rugby league international father, Ged, took up a coaching job in Cumbria.

Canterbury are the Ford Trophy defending champions and open their campaign against Otago this Sunday in Rangiora.