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England's Ben Stokes charged with affray over nightclub fight in Bristol

Cricket chiefs said they would meet in the next 48 hours to decide if Stokes will be allowed to take part in England's upcoming tour

AFP | PTI  |  London 

Ben Stokes

all-rounder was charged with on Monday following an incident outside a nightclub, casting fresh doubt over his international future after he missed the side's ill-fated Ashes tour.

chiefs said they would meet in the next 48 hours to decide if Stokes will be allowed to take part in England's upcoming tour of New Zealand, for which he has already been selected.

The confrontation in September in the southwestern city of reportedly left a man with a fractured eye socket. Stokes, 26, was suspended from international until further notice by the and Wales Board (ECB), meaning he missed the tour.

"The CPS was passed a file of evidence by Avon and on 29 November in relation to an incident of in city centre," said a for England's Crown Prosecution Service.

"Further material was subsequently received in late December. Following a review of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the police to charge three men with in connection with the incident."

Stokes and the two other men will appear at Magistrates' Court on a date to be fixed following the incident in the early hours of September 25 after had beaten the in a one-day international in the city.

- 'Clear my name' -


Responding to Monday's announcement, Stokes vowed to "clear my name", telling his followers: "I want to thank all those who have continued to support me in relation to the Bristol incident, not least my family, friends, fans and team-mates.

"I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one -- the same day as the incident -- and have co-operated at each step of the police inquiry.

"I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.

"The CPS' decision to charge me, as well as and Ryan Hale, at least means that my account of what happened that night can come out in court and be made public. Until then, my focus is very much on cricket."

Stokes had already been ruled out of England's ongoing one-day international series in and his next involvement in senior cricket could be in the lucrative after he was cleared by the ECB to play in a second season of the franchise Twenty20 tournament.

England crashed to a 4-0 defeat in in the absence of the dynamic all-rounder, who is an aggressive middle-order batsman,

Stokes sparked talk of a possible England recall by playing in his native for domestic side for a month, but has since returned home to be with his wife and young family.

Last week Stokes was included in England's 16-man squad for the test tour of New Zealand, the country he left as a child when his father got a job in England.

But the ECB added that "his involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September".

"ECB is aware that has been charged with in relation to an incident in Bristol in September," said a board

"The board will now convene within 48 hours to decide on Ben Stokes's availability to represent England at this stage. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Under English law, affray, which refers to fighting in public, can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison if the case is heard in a crown court.

But if the case is tried in a magistrates' court, the maximum penalty is a fine or six months in prison.

First Published: Mon, January 15 2018. 22:54 IST