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Men's Cricket Stokes allowed to play for England while being charged with affray

BEN STOKES is to resume his international career after being charged for affray and is due to rejoin the team next month in New Zealand.

England have deemed him unavailable for selection ever since his initial arrest following an incident in Bristol in September but the ECB's 13-strong management board today decided that his suspension should end.

They debated the matter, with chair Colin Graves contributing from New Zealand via conference call, after the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed on Monday that Stokes would appear at a magistrates' court at an unspecified date, along with two other men.

England face Australia in the second of five one-day internationals tomorrow but Stokes is not set to link back up with the side until the latter part of the subsequent Twenty20 Tri-Series involving both sides and New Zealand.

The delay in Stokes's availability for the tri-series is believed to be in case there is a court appearance he would have to attend.

If all goes to plan, the 26-year-old could return to England colours against the Black Caps on February 13 and 18.

Stokes has already played a handful of games in New Zealand, the country of his birth, after the ECB cleared him to join Canterbury Kings while they unsuccessfully contested the Ashes in his absence.

Alex Hales, who was present with Stokes on the night in question, has already returned to the England side after Avon and Somerset Police made it clear no charges would be brought against him.

Both he and Stokes still face an internal investigation from the ECB's independent cricket discipline commission but that will not begin until the legal process has run its course.

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