Stokes awaits England vice-captaincy fate following Bristol arrest
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will reveal on Wednesday whether Ben Stokes has retained his position as Test vice-captain for the 2017-18 Ashes, after their plans for the tour were stunningly disrupted by news of his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
Influential all-rounder Stokes, 26, was arrested by Avon and Somerset Police during the early hours of Monday morning following an incident in Bristol, which resulted in a 27-year-old man being taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Stokes spent the night in custody before being released under investigation without charge. The ECB duly confirmed he would play no further part in the ODI series with the Windies.
Alex Hales, who was out with Stokes on Sunday night following England's victory in the third ODI, has also been withdrawn from selection. Hales voluntarily returned to Bristol on Tuesday to help police with their ongoing enquiries.
The timing could hardly be worse for the ECB, whose selectors met to pick a touring party for the Ashes on Tuesday.
That squad will be announced on Wednesday, with England director of cricket Andrew Strauss indicating Stokes would remain available for selection despite his arrest.
Andrew Strauss provided the media with a statement on Ben Stokes and Alex Hales pic.twitter.com/tLPAw1Usbh-- England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 26, 2017
Strauss told reporters at The Oval: "The selectors have been instructed to select the Ashes squad based on form and fitness, as they normally would."
Nevertheless, there is now considerable doubt over whether Stokes will continue to serve as vice-captain to Joe Root. It also remains to be seen whether the Durham player will be charged by police ahead of England's departure for Australia on October 28.
In the meantime, England will need to replace Stokes and Hales in their XI for Wednesday's fourth ODI against West Indies.
Skipper Eoin Morgan confirmed Jason Roy will come in for Hales, while Sam Billings was subsequently added to the squad to provide an additional option in Stokes' absence.