19 Jan 2018

Stokes' return back in doubt?

6:22 am on 19 January 2018

Ben Stokes' return to international cricket was thrown into fresh doubt with the all-rounder ordered to appear in court on the same day as his potential England comeback match in New Zealand.

English all-rounder Ben Stokes

English all-rounder Ben Stokes Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Stokes is set to appear at a Bristol court on February 13th - the same day he's scheduled to playing a T20 match in Wellington.

The 26-year-old has been included in the England squad for the T20 tri-series being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand next month, with Stokes set to join the team for their New Zealand leg of the tournament, skipping the opening two games in Australia.

However he's due in court on charges of affray on the same day England play the Black Caps in Wellington.

Earlier this week, Stokes was cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to resume his England career in New Zealand although no date was set for his actual return.

Trevor Bayliss, England's head coach said the reason Stokes wouldn't join them for the first two T20s in Australia wasn't to shield him from media scrutiny, but because England would like him to gain some match practice before his comeback.

"Hopefully we can get him some cricket somewhere as part of his practice going into the New Zealand leg. That'll be up to him," Bayliss said.

The schedule will now have to be re-examined.

Stokes was left out of the party for the Ashes series in Australia after being suspended from playing for his country as police decided whether to press charges following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub last September.

The Christchurch born player is accused of affray alongside two other men.

Stokes' recall has received a mixed reception in England, with some observers questioning why he has been allowed to return when facing charges.

After England's tri-nation series, they remain in New Zealand to play five ODIs and two Tests against New Zealand.