Bayliss: England will not be distracted by Stokes absence

Trevor Bayliss will not allow England's focus to drift away from beating Australia despite continued uncertainty over Ben Stokes' participation in the Ashes.

Stokes was named in England's touring party for the five-match series but the vice-captain has yet to arrive in Australia as he continues to be the subject of an active police investigation.

The all-rounder was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after an incident in Bristol in September.

Stokes was released under investigation without charge, but has since been suspended by the ECB until the police conclude their case.

As Joe Root's side prepare for their final warm-up matches with two Cricket Australia XIs, Bayliss insists the tourists are planning for life without Stokes and his appearance would be a "bonus".

"I haven't spoken [to anyone] or heard of anything [about the Stokes situation] since we have been here," said the England coach.

"If we concentrate on that and wondering if he is coming or not, that might take the focus off what we're trying to achieve so we have just been going about preparing with the players we have got here.

"If he happens to turn up at some stage, it's a bonus. If he doesn't, bad luck, we will just get on with what we have got."

And Bayliss is confident Stokes will have no problem settling back into the England squad should he make the journey to Australia.

"If he does come at some stage, he won't have any trouble at all fitting in because he's such an integral part of the setup," Bayliss told Sky Sports.

"He's good mates with the squad and they're good mates with him.

"We're at a loss. We can't do anything else apart from prepare like he's not going to be. If he turns up at some stage later in the Ashes then so be it.

"There are two sides to it. There's the police investigation and then there's also the disciplinary commission the ECB have put together. From that point of view, he was still out late at night when he shouldn't have been out quite as late, so there's still that issue to clear up."

Read Full Story