By Adam Ellis
The ECB have provided an update on the Ben Stokes controversy and announced that Steven Finn will return to the Test set-up regardless of what happens to Stokes concerning recent allegations over a nightclub incident.
Andrew Strauss described Finn’s call-up as something which will give ‘the coaching staff and supporters some clarity around a complex situation.’
Most notably, the ECB statement confirmed: “Ben Stokes will not travel at this stage, though no final decision has been taken on his involvement in Australia.”
It added: “England Selectors have added Steven Finn to the squad for the Ashes Tests, in light of the on-going investigation by Avon & Somerset Police, the Cricket Discipline Commission process and all other considerations.
“Finn will travel to Australia with the England Test team for the full five-match Ashes series, leaving on Saturday 28 October.”
The allegations surrounding Stokes unsettled England the day before they announced their Ashes squad, but England team director Strauss stressed that Finn’s inclusion will help Trevor Bayliss and the squad focus on retaining the urn.
“This decision will help us in the weeks ahead and give every player and the whole England set-up the best chance to focus on the challenge ahead in Australia,” Strauss said.
“Steven is a high-quality cricketer, with considerable experience of both international cricket and Australian conditions. The Selectors believe he will add to the range of options and the squad will be further supported by the arrival of the Lions in Australia in November.
With the ECB commissioning its own disciplinary action against Stokes once the Police’s investigation has concluded, they remain committed to Stokes by awarding him a central contract along with the likes of Alastair Cook, James Anderson and Moeen Ali.
Strauss commented: “We have spoken to Ben and assured him that our decision in no way prejudges the outcome of the ongoing Police investigation or Cricket Discipline Commission process, as can be seen by the award of Central Contracts.
“On these, I would like to congratulate all of those who have received England contracts for 2017/18, ahead of a busy year of International cricket.”
Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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