• Hales and Stokes punished, but free to play

    All-rounder Ben Stokes and batsman Alex Hales will be available for the entirety of England’s tour of the West Indies early next year.

    The cricket discipline commission has concluded an inquiry into Stokes and Hales’ involvement in a brawl in Bristol last year.

    Stokes and Hales were fined £30,000 (about R540,000) and £17,500 (about R320,000) respectively. The former was banned for eight matches, all effectively served already. The latter received a six-match ban, four of those suspended for 12 months.

    ‘Everyone will now be aware that the CDC disciplinary proceedings have concluded and I accept the decision of the panel,’ said Stokes.

    ‘I had entered guilty pleas to bringing the game into disrepute much earlier in the process and I want to thank the panel for their time and consideration now that the hearing has ended.

    ‘The criminal charges. and subsequently the disciplinary charges have made it difficult to make public comment about the issues. I have already apologised to my teammates, coaches and support staff for the consequences of my actions in Bristol. I regret that the incident ever happened and I apologise to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me through this process.

    ‘Cricket and family are my life. This incident has been a huge burden for the last 15 months. I am relieved to get back to playing the game that I love without this hanging over me. Although the disciplinary process is now over, I have learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer.’

    The Test and limited-overs squads for the tour of the Caribbean will be named on Monday. Stokes is expected to feature in all, with Hales’ services reserved for the ODIs and T20Is.

    ‘I am relieved that the decision by the CDC means this chapter is now closed and I can move on with my career,’ added Hales.

    ‘There is no doubt I fell below the high standards expected of an international sportsman and that was the reason for my decision to admit the charges and accept the punishment handed down. More than anything, I sincerely apologise for putting myself in a position which allowed these very regrettable incidents to happen.’

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