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Men's Cricket Stokes found not guilty of affray

England added Ben Stokes to their squad for this weekend's third Test today after his acquittal at Bristol Crown Court.

Stokes, who was cleared of a charge of affray, was not in the 13-man squad England announced the previous day to face India at Trent Bridge.

But within two hours of the end of the court case, the England and Wales Cricket Board issued a brief statement which read: "Ben Stokes will now join the England squad for the third Test against India, which starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday."

The 27-year-old all-rounder punched Ryan Hale, 27, to the ground and then knocked out Ryan Ali, 28, during the fracas in the early hours of September 25 last year in Bristol city centre.

Stokes said he was acting in self-defence, or in the defence of others, when he punched the two best friends hours after England played the West Indies in a one-day international in the city.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court took under three hours to acquit Stokes and co-accused Ali of affray following a seven day trial.

The anticipated timetable of events therefore remains that the CDC, which acts independently under the auspices of the ECB, will soon resume deliberations that had to remain on hold while court proceedings took precedence.

Stokes was cleared, alongside co-defendant Ryan Ali, following the late-night events of September last year when a fight broke out in the street outside a Bristol nightclub.

England’s premier all-rounder subsequently missed the remainder of the ongoing one-day international series against West Indies and then last winter’s Ashes before returning during the tour of New Zealand.

He had to miss last week’s Lord’s Test victory over India, because of a clash with his court case and, on Monday, he was left out of an unchanged squad to play at Trent Bridge in the third match of five which gets under way on Saturday.

The CDC was initially convened to also consider the behaviour of Stokes’s England teammate Alex Hales, who was present as well on the night in question in Bristol.

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