Stokes in England squad for Australia ODIs, but his availability remains unclear

Ben Stokes has been named in England's squad for the one-day international series with Australia that follows the Ashes, but his return to the international arena remains subject to the outcome of investigations from the police and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

As was the case ahead of the ongoing Ashes series, England's selectors were instructed to name their strongest squad for a five-match ODI rubber beginning in Melbourne on January 14.

That means Stokes is included, even though the all-rounder is currently the subject of an ECB suspension as he waits to hear whether he will be charged for his involvement in a disorder that took place in Bristol in September. The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and subsequently released under investigation without charge.

Avon and Somerset Police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for "charging advice" last week. Stokes has since returned to competitive action in New Zealand with Canterbury and the ECB has said it will make a swift decision on his availability once it receives confirmation of whether Stokes has been charged.

A media release from the governing body read: "Should the ECB board receive formal confirmation that Ben Stokes has either been charged or that he will face no charges, they would convene within 48 hours to make a decision on his availability for the team at that stage."

Alex Hales has also earned a call-up, with the opener available for selection once again after police confirmed he will not face criminal charges over his involvement in the Bristol incident that saw Stokes arrested.

However, head coach Trevor Bayliss indicated Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy are likely to retain their places at the top of the order. The duo shone after Hales was suspended by the ECB for England's final two ODIs against West Indies in September

"The two openers we had did very well and it would be difficult to go against them," Bayliss was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

"The two guys who have taken over, I just think that's the best way to go."

Fit-again paceman Mark Wood, who has been tipped to contend for a start in the third Ashes Test in Perth as England seek to bounce back from successive defeats, and wicketkeeper Sam Billings return to England's ODI squad, which will once again be captained by Eoin Morgan.


England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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