Stokes punishment for Bristol incident not 'brushed under carpet' - ECB chief
Ben Stokes' punishment for his involvement in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017 was not "brushed under the carpet", insists England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison.
All-rounder Stokes was this month handed an accumulative eight-match ban by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC), a body independent from the ECB, which also related to an inappropriate video.
However, it was ruled that Stokes had already served all of those matches and was free to continue playing.
Stokes was found not guilty of affray at trial in August and spoke at the time the sanction was announced of how he is looking forward to playing "without this hanging over me".
And Harrison is adamant the punishment was a "serious" one.
Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: "We have an independent body making these judgements, they are qualified people and this has been a proper process.
"The sanctions handed down are serious, this is not something that's been brushed under the carpet.
"Ben is a key part of the Test and ODI team but I don't think that's got anything to do with the sanctions which have been handed down - the processes have been separate and deliberately so."
Stokes missed five months of England matches, including the 2018-19 Ashes series in Australia, while the investigation was ongoing and was also handed a £30,000 fine by the CDC.
But Harrison says the Durham star can still be a role model.
"Ben is a leader in the England team," he added.
"I do think he can [be a role model] - he's been through a year that will serve as a constant reminder of how quickly things can go wrong if you allow them.
"He's got great people around him, he's got good support structures and I'm sure he's learnt a lesson."