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Stokes gets green signal from ECB for New Zealand tour

England cricketer Ben Stokes is available for selection for the tour of New Zealand after he was charged with affray, says the England and Wales Cricket Board. The 26-year-old was charged on Monday after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September and will appear before magistrates.

The all-rounder who has not played for England since the incident, will join the squad for the second half of a triangular Twenty20 series in New Zealand in February. England then play five one-day internationals and two Tests.

The England Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement: “Given the potential length of the trial”, it would not be “fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period.”

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“ECB fully respects the legal process and the player’s intention to defend himself against the charge. England selectors, management and players have been informed and Ben Stokes is expected to join the squad in New Zealand for February’s T20 matches.”

Stokes missed two one-day internationals against West Indies in England last summer and the entire winter Ashes Test series in Australia. He will play no part in the current one-day series against Australia.

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