Ben Stokes given central contract but won't travel to Australia at this stage, ECB confirm

6 October 2017, 12:33

Ben Stokes has been awarded a new central contract but won't travel to Australia at this stage, the ECB have confirmed.

Stokes, along with Alex Hales, have been given new deals - Hales on a White-Ball contract with Stokes on both Test and White-Ball contracts - despite the investigation into the brawl outside a Bristol nightclub, which saw the pair omitted from England selection until further notice.

The ECB has also announced that Middlesex seamer Steven Finn has been added to the squad for the Ashes Tests.

The announcement on the awarding of central contracts was initially due to be made on Wednesday but was subsequently put back 48 hours.

Stokes and Hales remain on full pay, but have been ruled out of England duty following the incident which took place in the early hours of September 25, the morning after they had defeated West Indies in the third one-day international in Bristol.

Despite the ongoing investigations by Avon and Somerset Police, Stokes was named in the England squad for the Ashes tour to Australia this winter.

Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss said: "With the Ashes just around the corner, it's important to give the players, the coaching staff and supporters some clarity around a complex situation.

"This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia.

"Steven is a high-quality cricketer, with considerable experience of both international cricket and Australian conditions. The Selectors believe he will add to the range of options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November.

"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, as can be seen by the award of Central Contracts.

"On these, I would like to congratulate all of those who have received England contracts for 2017/18, ahead of a busy year of International cricket."

The announcement of the one-day international squad for the Ashes Tour was also due to be made this week but that too has been delayed, with no future date for the announcement released.

England begin their Ashes preparations with a four-day game against Western Australia at the WACA in Perth which gets underway on November 4.

The first test takes place at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 23.

England's centrally contracted players for 2017-18:

Tests: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

ODI/T20: Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Mark Wood.

Incremental: Toby Roland-Jones.

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