Stokes Allowed To Resume Int'l Career While Legal Process From Arrest Proceeds
Cricketer Ben Stokes has been allowed to resume his int'l career "partly because the England & Wales Cricket Board feared being sued for restraint of trade if he remained on suspension indefinitely," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Stokes was on Wednesday cleared to play for England again and is "expected to join the team in New Zealand next month" for the second half of a Twenty20 tri-series. The ECB's exec board made its decision "over the course of several teleconference calls," with disagreement among the 14 members over the way forward. But the senior exec of ECB Chair Colin Graves, ECB CEO Tom Harrison and England Cricket Dir Andrew Strauss "were unanimous that he should be made available for selection, once they heard legal advice." There was also "pressure" from the England team management, which is "keen to have Stokes back playing again" after losing the Ashes without him. When Stokes said on Tuesday that he intends to fight to "clear my name," it signaled he would plead not guilty and opt for trial at Crown Court. The ECB's lawyers warned it could take up to 18 months for the trial to reach Crown Court and "suspending him for that long might lead to legal action for restraint of trade by Stokes" (TELEGRAPH, 1/17).