23 Jan 2018

Stokes to miss start of NZ tour

1:19 pm on 23 January 2018

England vice-captain Ben Stokes has confirmed he won't join the squad until after his first court appearance on February 13, the same day he was slated to make his international cricket return.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes Photo: Photosport

The allrounder will be available to play on February 18 at the earliest against New Zealand in Hamilton in a Twenty20 international tri-series co-hosted by Australia.

The 26-year-old missed the Ashes after being suspended following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September and was charged with affray last month.

"As (it) has been confirmed in the media a first hearing date at court has been set for 13th February ... I have decided that it would not be right to join my teammates until after attending court on the 13th" Stokes said on Twitter.

Stokes may have decided to join the squad for training in New Zealand ahead of his planned comeback but has instead opted to attend Bristol Magistrates' Court.

It casts doubt over his participation in the tournament given the February 18 fixture is the last before the final in Auckland on the 21st.

England coach Trevor Bayliss has previously said Stokes is not guaranteed to walk back into the team in New Zealand.

Stokes was already unavailable for two earlier tri-series matches in Australia early next month.