Ben Stokes to miss England vs India second Test at Lord's after pleading not guilty to charge of affray


Ben Stokes has pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray and will miss the second Test between England and India at Lords after a trial date was set for 6 August.

The England all-rounder appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Monday via video link from New Zealand, where the international cricket team are currently based for their ongoing series with the Black Caps.

Mr Stokes was introduced remotely to Judge Peter Blair during the 15-minute hearing, to which he responded “Hi judge”.

Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Magistrates’ Court charged with affray

After confirming his name and date of birth, Mr Stokes pleaded not guilty to the charge, with his co-accused Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, also pleading guilty to the same charge on grounds of “self-defence and defence of another”. All three defendants have been granted unconditional bail

Mr Stokes, 26, missed the Ashes series during the winter after being arrested while on a night out in Bristol last September. The Durham all-rounder is alleged to have been involved in a street brawl in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol city centre shortly after England’s one-day international victory over the West Indies.

One man is alleged to have suffered a broken eye socket in the fight.

Mr Stokes was out in the city centre with a number of England teammates that included Alex Hales, who was also stood down from playing for the international side but did feature in the post-Ashes ODI and T20 series’ with Australia.

He has since returned to action with England and played in all five ODIs as they secured a 3-2 series win, claiming the man-of-the-match awards in the second ODI in the process.

The England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] has already confirmed that Mr Stokes will remain available for selection while the case continues, having decided to lift his suspension ahead of the ODI series in New Zealand. It means that Mr Stokes will be available for the two-Test series with New Zealand that begins on 22 March, as well as the summer Test series against Pakistan and ODI games with Australia between the end of May and June.

But while he will be eligible for selection in the ODI series with India which begins on 3 July, he could miss both the second and third Tests depending on how long his case runs for, with the estimation being between five and seven day from 6 August. Should the case take any longer, he would potentially miss the third Test at Trent Bridge, which begins on 18 August.

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