Stokes to join England in New Zealand
Ben Stokes is set to fly to New Zealand, where he will join his England team-mates on Friday, after pleading not guilty to one count of affray at Bristol Magistrates Court.
The case involving Stokes, which relates to an altercation in September, has been sent to Bristol Crown Court, with the first hearing due to take place on March 12, but the presence of the 26-year-old will not be required.
The star all-rounder missed the 4-0 Ashes Test series loss to Australia following his arrest and, according to a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), he is "not currently" being considered for selection in the tri-nations Twenty20 international series involving England, Australia and New Zealand.
But he could feature in the five ODI contests against the Black Caps, beginning in Hamilton on February 25.
England are then due to play two Tests against New Zealand, with the first match starting in Auckland on March 22.
Ben Stokes will travel to New Zealand on Wednesday
Full statement on his availability: https://t.co/aNdq9VhbNW pic.twitter.com/ARqkGwjRCB
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) February 13, 2018
"Having entered his plea at Bristol Magistrates Court today, Ben Stokes will now travel to New Zealand to join the England squad," the ECB said in a statement.
"He departs tomorrow, Wednesday 14 February, and will arrive on Friday 16 February, ready to train with England team-mates in Hamilton.
"Any decision to include him in upcoming matches will be made by Head Coach Trevor Bayliss and the England management team. He is not currently being considered for the ongoing International T20 Tri-Series.
"ECB fully respects his right to defend himself in court and any obligations he has within the legal process will always take precedence over England commitments.
"It has been confirmed that he will not be required to return to the UK for the first hearing at Bristol Crown Court on Monday 12 March."