CRICKET: Controversial allrounder Ben Stokes has declared he can't wait to get back on the field after being cleared for selection by the England and Wales Cricket Board despite being charged with affray.
Stokes was suspended by the ECB while under investigation by UK police for his involvement in an incident outside a England nightclub in September.
Stokes missed the entirety of the Ashes but was named in England's squads for the current one-day series (later withdrawn) and the upcoming Twenty20 international series with the caveat that he could be scratched pending any legal or disciplinary developments.
Earlier this week the Crown Prosecution Service charged Stokes over the nightclub incident but yesterday the ECB confirmed he would now be considered for selection.
The New Zealand-born Stokes took to social media to express his delight with the decision.
"I'm extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to do this again,” he said.
"Representing my country is one of the greatest things that I've ever been lucky enough to do, walking out on to the field with the England shirt on is a privilege and a honour.
"I can't wait to get back out on a pitch with the 3 Lions on my chest and feeling that pride that we all get and giving everything for the team.”
England is currently involved in a one-day international series in Australia but the ECB said Stokes is expected to return to England duty for February's Twenty20 matches in New Zealand.
The ECB said Stokes' intention to contest the charge had been crucial in its decision to allow him to resume an England career that currently comprises 39 Tests, 62 one-day internationals and 21 Twenty20 internationals.
"Given the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) decision to charge him and two others with affray, confirmation of his intention to contest the charge and the potential length of time to trial, the board agreed that it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period,” the ECB said.
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