Australia vs England 2017/18: England announce full-strength squad for ODI series
Both Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been named in the 16-member squad.
What's the story?
England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced England's squad for their upcoming ODI series against Australia. Alex Hales and Ben Stokes have both been included in the 16-member contingent. Despite their inclusion, the duo are not certain to play as they are still under various stages of investigation from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC).
On Stokes' possible comeback, England coach Trevor Bayliss asserted, "I am sure there will be a lot of scrutiny. We won't know it actually until it comes along. We have got to adjust to that at some stage. Look, we have discussed what will happen when Ben returns. But whenever he comes back, that's going to be a bit of a circus for sure. If it happens, let's just get on with it and take it on the chin."
Playing down Hales' chances of regaining his spot, Bayliss felt, "We could bring Hales back in and drop one of those guys (Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow) down. But then it would upset someone else. We've got to take a decision now and I just think the best way to go is with the two guys who have taken over."
While he has been cleared for selection based on the knowledge that charges won't be pressed against him, Hales may still face action from ECB's CDC. On the other hand, CPS is currently deliberating on whether to press charges against Stokes for his role in the infamous street brawl.
The heart of the matter
Led by skipper Eoin Morgan, the squad also comprises injury-prone pacer Mark Wood. The right-arm fast bowler, whose previous appearance in any format came in the 2017 Champions Trophy semi-final, will bolster a seam department consisting of as many as seven options.
Full England Squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Mark Wood and Jake Ball
Once CPS passes it's final verdict, ECB's CDC are set to meet within a 48-hour deadline to decide on Stokes' immediate future in the game. The panel will also discuss on the next course of action regarding Hales as well.
The opening ODI of the 5-match series between Australia and England will be played on January 14 at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Despite the prevailing set of circumstances, England have made the right move in naming a full-strength squad. It remains to be seen if Stokes and Hales are allowed to participate in what could be a gruelling series for the visitors.