Ben Stokes: England all-rounder 'not flying out to join Ashes squad'

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes made his Test debut in Australia in 2013

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is not flying out to join up with the squad in Australia despite widespread speculation on social media, says the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Stokes, 26, was arrested in September on suspicion of actual bodily harm after an incident outside a nightclub.

A picture was posted on Twitter on Monday which it was claimed showed him at Heathrow Airport.

The ECB said Stokes was flying to New Zealand to spend time with his family.

It added it had not taken care of his travel arrangements.

Stokes was released without charge after the incident outside Bristol's Mbargo nightclub in the early hours of on 26 September, but remains under investigation.

Two men subsequently claimed Stokes was defending them from homophobic abuse.

The Durham player was initially named in England's squad for the Ashes but did not travel out with the rest of squad.

It is understood there no legal restrictions preventing him from leaving the country, but he is still part of an ongoing enquiry by Avon and Somerset Police.

England lost the first Ashes Test in Brisbane by 10 wickets. The next Test in the five-match series, a day-nighter in Adelaide, begins on Saturday.

'We are waiting for the police to make a charging decision'

Speaking on Sunday, England director of cricket Andrew Strauss said there had been no change with regard to Stokes' availability.

"We're waiting for the police to make a charging decision and, until that happens, nothing has changed," he said.

"We're in the same situation as we have been for quite a long time now.

"There are certain procedural things that have taken place but there is a process that can only kick in once we've heard a charging decision from the police."

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