England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive officer Tom Harrison has implored all and sundry to ‘forgive and move on’, after all-rounder Ben Stokes’ involvement in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub last year.
Stokes was heavily fined and banned, but found not guilty of affray, after the incident – and has since returned to the England team.
‘Ben is a leader in the England team. 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,’ Harrison told the BBC.
‘He’s got great people around him, he’s got good support structures and I’m sure he’s learnt a lesson.’
The 27-year-old Stokes will likely feature in England’s squad for next year’s World Cup in the United Kingdom. Batsman Alex Hales, who was also involved in the Bristol brawl, is less likely to be named in the squad for the ODI showpiece in England and Wales.
‘We’ve got huge plans for making sure the World Cup is a platform to grow the game in England and Wales,’ added Harrison.
‘It is an unbelievable opportunity for English cricket, it’s up to us to make sure we take advantage of that. And for the first time you sense we have this gilt-edged opportunity to take people from the white-ball game directly into the Ashes series which immediately follows the World Cup.
“It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity. I’m giddy with excitement about 2019.’