England make massive call on Stokes for Ashes

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that Ben Stokes will not travel to Australia when the rest of the squad departs on October 28.

Stokes and fellow Englishman Alex Hales have been suspended indefinitely after they were involved in a brawl outside a pub in Bristol a fortnight ago.

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A final decision has yet to be made on the involvement of Stokes, who is still under police investigation.

"We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing police investigation or cricket discipline commission process," England director of cricket Andrew Strauss said.

The ECB has made the decision on Stokes because no further police update on their investigation is expected until at least the middle of this month.

The ECB also announced that paceman Steven Finn has been added to the squad.

Stokes, who had been originally retained as vice-captain for the Ashes tour, has had his central contract renewed. Opening batsman Hales has been retained as a limited-overs specialist.

Not good news for Stokes. Image: Getty

In a separate matter, the ECB has also fined and issued a written warning to Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett after a disciplinary investigation into behaviour during the recent one-day series against the West Indies.

No further details have been given but the ECB has stated clearly this issue is "unrelated to the investigations into Ben Stokes and Alex Hales".

Stokes's performance was one of the few positives for England as they were whitewashed 5-0 on their previous visit to Australia in 2013-14.

Australian legend Shane Warne on Friday said it's not just the tourists who will be missing out if Stokes does not travel.

"I don't know what the latest is but cricket's the poorer without Ben Stokes, let's hope we see him back in the arena soon," he told Omnisport.

The first Ashes Test begins on November 23 in Brisbane.

with agencies