England all-rounder Ben Stokes and opening batsman Alex Hales have been named in the ODI squad for the upcoming bilateral series against Australia post the Ashes series.
But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have stated in their media release that the selection is provisional and their involvement remains subject to any legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September.
Hales is likely to play in the series provided the authorities confirm that the 28-year-old faces no charges. The opener had his suspension lifted earlier this week after confirmation by police that he has been cleared of any offence.
ECB have clarified that they will convene within 48 hours on receiving formal confirmation that Ben Stokes, who is currently playing for Canterbury in New Zealand’s Ford Trophy one-day tournament, has either been charged or not.
Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen has voiced that the 26-year-old should not be a part of this tour given the incident. “It would be wrong for Stokes to be on this tour,’ Pietersen said in an interview with the Mail. “From what we’ve seen on that coverage, that bloke doesn’t play for England again for a while.”
Michael Vaughan was of the same opinion but went on to say that the selection in the ODI squad was forced and Stokes will take no part in the limited overs series and later on in the tri-series featuring their Ashes opponents and New Zealand.
“There is no chance Ben Stokes will play cricket in Australia this (UK) winter. It’s very confusing but I don’t think anything has changed really,” Vaughan said to BBC 5. “It’s the same situation we are in now, he’s not here playing for England because he is not deemed selectable.”
“They don’t want to prejudice any kind of case moving forward. They had to include to include him in the squad. But I would bet my bottom dollar that unless this case comes to an end very quickly, there is no chance that Ben Stokes will play cricket in Australia this winter.”
However former England all-rounder Ian Botham differs. He believes that England need Stokes if they were to have any say in the Test series after Joe Root’s side suffered a 120-run defeat in the first Day-Night Ashes Test in Adelaide.
“Australia are two-up in the series, England have got it all to do and he would be the x-factor that might just shake things up,” he told Fox Sports News.
“It’s very simple, if you lose in Perth it’s all over red rover. England need to shake things up and they’ve got just a few days to get that sorted otherwise it will be a pretty lame performance.”
“He’s gone down to New Zealand, he’s playing for Canterbury, he’s netting, he’s training, so there’s not much more he can do other than getting on a plane to Perth, which would be sooner than later if it was down to me.”
England ODI squad:
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
1st ODI – Melbourne, January 14
2nd ODI – Brisbane, January 19
3rd ODI – Sydney, January 21
4th ODI – Adelaide, January 26
5th ODI – Perth, January 28