England all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to join his teammates in the third test against India at Trent Bridge. The all-rounder was in court for the last six days in a hearing to decide his involvement in a nightclub brawl in September last year which left a man unconscious.
The Bristol Brown Court discharged the English cricketer with a ‘not guilty’ judgment by a jury of six men and six women on August 14.
The court also pronounced Ryan Ali, his co-defendant ‘not guilty’ in a hearing that lasted 2.5 hours.
Stokes’ wife Clare and his agent Neil Fairbrother broke down when the jury pronounced him not guilty of affray. Stokes, standing in the dock, allowed himself a moment to shut his eyes. He then offered his hand to Ryan Ali, who shook it.
George Dobell, senior correspondent at ESPN Cricinfo tweeted about the gesture saying “that’s how this should have been solved 10 months ago”.
Stokes offers hand to Ryan Ali in witness box. Ali shakes it. That's how this should have been settled 10 months ago in my view.
— George Dobell (@GeorgeDobell1) August 14, 2018
Stokes was arrested on September 25 last year after he and team-mate Alex Hales were involved in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub. A case was registered against Stokes, whereas Hales was not charged after being interviewed under caution by the police.
Stokes missed the Ashes in Australia last year but was recalled to the side after a court date was set. He was also included in the squad for the series against India. But he missed the second Test at Lord’s due to the case hearing.
While the court has set him free, an internal disciplinary process will be undertaken by the Cricket Discipline Committee to review the incident and probably pronounce a punishment to Stokes and Hales for bringing the game into disrepute.
I think the fact he missed the whole of the Winter in Australia is punishment enough for Ben Stokes .. I personally think now he has been proven to be Not Guilty he should be allowed to play ..
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 14, 2018
There are some like Michael Vaughan who believes that Stokes must not be punished further because he missed out on playing in the Ashes. The disciplinary committee will begin their review process after the Third test match to be played at Trent Bridge from August 18-22.
England lead the 5- match Pataudi Trophy series 2-0.