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Ben Stokes to join England in New Zealand after court appearance

AFP  |  Bristol 

will join the England squad in after the star all-rounder pleaded not guilty today to a charge of over a nightclub incident that forced him out of tour.

The 26-year-old all-rounder appeared at Magistrates' Court in the southwest of England along with two other men and will next appear at Crown Court on March 12.

The England and Wales Board issued a statement shortly after Stokes's first court appearance confirming his but he is not expected to make an immediate return after nearly five months out of the side.

"Having entered his plea at Magistrates' Court today, will now travel to to join the England squad," said an

"He departs tomorrow, Wednesday 14 February, and will arrive on Friday 16 February, ready to train with England team-mates in Hamilton."


The statement said any decision to include him in upcoming matches would be made by the England management team. He is not currently being considered for the ongoing International Twenty20 tri-series against and

England start a five-match one-day international series against on February 25, followed by two Tests.

"(The) ECB fully respects his right to defend himself in court and any obligations he has within the legal process will always take precedence over England commitments," added the statement.

Stokes, who missed England's 4-0 Ashes drubbing after being suspended from playing for England, appeared at the court in along with and

- Altercation -

===============

Tuesday's court appearance follows the altercation during the early hours of September 25 last year, several hours after England had played a one-day international against the in the city.

It is alleged a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket in the incident, at which fellow England was also present. Hales faced no charges.

Ali, Stokes and Hale spoke to confirm their names, dates of births, addresses and nationalities. The read out the charges and all three defendants indicated not guilty pleas.

Stokes is accused jointly with Ali and Hale of using or threatening unlawful violence towards another.

The charge states that his "conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety". The other two defendants face the same charge.

All three defendants elected to be tried by a jury at a crown court, with the offence carrying a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison.

"I have decided that your trial will take place at the crown court at The first hearing date will be March 12," said "You will be on bail."

In a statement posted on last month after he was charged, Stokes said he was "keen to have an opportunity to clear my name".

While England were in Australia, Stokes played a few games for Canterbury Kings during a month-long spell in before returning home to England.

He is due to play in the after being sold for 1.4 million ($1.9 million) to the Rajasthan Royals.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 19:06 IST
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