England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the fourth One Day international against the West Indies at the Oval on Wednesday after being involved in an incident in Bristol on Monday morning.
The Guardian reported that Stokes was arrested after an altercation with a member of the public, and was held overnight by local police and released without charge, pending an ongoing investigation into what occurred.
An ECB statement said that England teammate Alex Hales will also miss the game after agreeing to return to Bristol to help police with their inquiries.
The statement also said that no further details would be released at this time, but more updates will be provided in good time.
The home team have been in fine form in the limited format of the game for a good length of time, and currently lead 2-0 in the five match series, and thrashed the Windies by 124 runs on Sunday.
With that victory, England cannot lose the series after the second game was washed out after a little over two overs in Nottingham last Thursday.
However, the loss of Stokes and Hales will test their depth for this clash as both play a major role in the set-up of the side.
Stokes was at his brutal best in Bristol with 73 runs of 63 balls, while Hales played his usual role of setting up the innings at the top of the order scoring 36 from 35 balls.
The news of this incident in Bristol will be a unwanted distraction for selectors as they come together today to pick the Ashes squad to take on Australia in five Test matches.
The statement from the ECB read as follows: “Stokes was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning, 25 September, following an incident in Bristol.
“He was held overnight and released under investigation – without charge – late on Monday and will not join the team in London.
“Hales, who was with Stokes on Sunday night, did not train this morning and has returned voluntarily to Bristol today to help police with their inquiries. You will understand that we cannot offer further detail at this stage but will provide any updates when we can.”
Toby-Roland Jones, who impressed so much in the South Africa series, is set to miss to the tour with stress fractures of the lower back, while Lancashire youngster Haseeb Hameed, who made a big impression in India, is out with a fractured finger.
Among the batsmen vying to be given a call-up include Gary Ballance (Yorkshire) and James Vince (Somerset), while Tom Westley will be aiming to cling onto his number three position in the lineup.
Meanwhile, on the bowling side of things, Jake Ball, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett, Craig Overton, and Steven Finn will all be given due consideration to play supporting roles to Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Stokes in the series.
Whoever is selected, one thing is certain, it will be a terrific series between the two major cricketing rivals.
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