The ECB are in a difficult position regarding Stokes.

England have made a surprising decision on Ben Stokes

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Just a few short weeks ago, Ben Stokes was England's most talked about player for all the right reasons.

The 26-year-old was in impressive form against the West Indies and was even being mentioned in the same bracket as some of the best all-rounders in the world.

Yet, it's an unfortunate pattern of his career that his fiery side tends to overshadow his exploits on the field.

Following a well-documented incident in Bristol, the Durham man was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

It leaves his Ashes place - and with that, England's chances Down under - in serious doubt just months before they meet their rivals in the Baggy Green.

Regardless of how the ECB choose to discpline Stokes, he may not be allowed to enter Australia if the case is still hanging over him.

A stern-faced Andrew Strauss has already given his thoughts on the affair and whatever happens now, it's ultimately been a shameful few days for English cricket, with Alex Hales also under fire for accompanying Stokes on the night out.

It would be perfectly understandable if Strauss, the ECB's director of cricket, insisted that his vice-captain be appropriately punished.

England have made a surprise decision 

That has been complicated by the backstory that has emerged, which claims Stokes was defending two other men from those with whom he was involved in the altercation.

According to the Telegraph, however, England now look set to stand by their man by handing him a central contract when the new deals are announced on Friday.

England v West Indies - 3rd Royal London One Day International

Around 10 players will be handed central contracts and these have only been delayed because the board wanted to include new clauses relating to off-field behaviour. Wonder why?

The decision may come as a surprise, although the ECB recognise that as he is innocent until proven guilty, they have to support him in the meantime.

They are also reluctant to let him slip out of contract as arguably their most promising player right now.

This is far from Stokes' first misdemeanour and he must count himself lucky that he hasn't been cast aside just yet. 

Does Stokes deserve a central contract? Have your say in the comments. 

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