Stokes set to get green light for IPL return
Ben Stokes looks set to be allowed to play in the 2018 Indian Premier League, but the all-rounder may not feature for England next year if he is charged for an incident in Bristol.
England's Test vice-captain has played no part in the Ashes series defeat in Australia after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on a night out in September.
Stokes' case has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service and he will fly back to England this weekend after a short spell playing for Canterbury in New Zealand.
It remains to be seen when he will be seen in an England shirt again, but England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison says he will be given the green light to showcase his talents in the IPL again after justifying his huge fee for Rising Pune Supergiant this year.
"Ben asked for an NOC [No Objection Certificate] to play in New Zealand and we were happy to grant one," said Harrison. "What he does with his time is up to him. He remains on full pay.
"It's up to Ben to decide if he wants to play in the IPL. We could say we don't want him to go, but I imagine that, having given him an NOC to go and play in New Zealand, it would be difficult for us to say we would not apply the same thinking towards playing in other parts of the world."
Harrison revealed the ECB will meet within a couple of days of a verdict being made on Stokes' case to decide if and when he might make his international comeback.
"What happened in Bristol was a very bad thing for the game and for the reputation of the game," he added.
"You never want to see the game in that position. What we have to understand is how we respond to that and how we rebuild reputations of the individuals involved and the team.
"The reality is we've built up a lot of trust with the public over the past two or three years with the way in which the team have played and the way in which they were connecting and becoming very accessible.
"Obviously some of that is impacted by off-the-field things like what happened in Bristol. It was a shocking day for the game. But we will rebuild that trust and we will get back to a situation where the public feel connected to the England team as they have done.
"In respect of Ben's situation, the CDC [Cricket Disciplinary Committee] process will take place at the end of his criminal proceedings if there should be any. The ECB board's decision will probably pre-empt anything that comes out of the CDC.
"From a board decision it is about disrepute and the reputation of the game. The CDC is purely about disrepute and cricket-related charges and it has to wait until after the criminal proceedings have happened.
"If the indications are accurate any likely situation could be six to 12 months away. After that the CDC process will take place and will take note of any sanctions that have already been served."