Stokes to play for Canterbury?

Alastair Cook's ill-judged decision to hook Josh Hazlewood started England's batting collapse

The sight of Ben Stokes wandering through Heathrow Airport on Monday evening, sporting his full cricket kit, fuelled extensive rumours on social media that he was heading to Australia to reinforce England's Ashes squad in the wake of their defeat in the first Test at Brisbane.

He remains unavailable for global selection following his part in a late-night fracas in Bristol, but it has been learned he was granted a no objection certificate four days ago by the European Central Bank to play domestic cricket anywhere he chooses.

Canterbury Cricket Club chief executive Jeremy Curwin has confirmed that talks are underway with Ben Stokes's representatives over his availability to play domestic cricket in New Zealand.

Christchurch-born Stokes, under police investigation in Britain, is on his way to New Zealand to visit family, raising speculation he could play in the domestic competition before joining the England Ashes squad.

He said: "We've got a Canterbury Cricket board meeting tonight, so it will be discussed there".

Jonny Bairstow was at fault too England must start showing determination and discipline
Jonny Bairstow was at fault too England must start showing determination and discipline

Stokes was dropped from the England tour to Australia while being investigated for an alleged assault in Bristol earlier this year.

Stokes was arrested after video footage purportedly showed England's test vice-captain throwing punches in a street fight after a night out celebrating England's win over the West Indies in a limited-overs global.

"He is not on his way to the Ashes, England Lions or any other official training camps with the England set-up".

He is still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation. "His travel arrangements have not been arranged by the European Central Bank", it said in a statement.

On Stokes' prospects of playing any part in the Ashes, Strauss added: "We're waiting for the police to make a charging decision and, until that happens, nothing has changed".

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