Alex Hales will face no criminal charges over the fracas in Bristol which resulted in his and Ben Stokes’ suspension from England selection and is therefore back in line to be picked again.
The 28-year-old opener has not played for his country, or any professional cricket, since he and Stokes became embroiled in the late-night incident outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25.
But following a brief statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board, Hales can expect to be selected once more when the Ashes tourists announce their squad for the limited-overs leg of their Australia trip following the conclusion of the ongoing second Test in Adelaide.
The ECB statement read: “Alex Hales will now be considered for England selection, following confirmation that he is no longer a suspect in relation to an incident in Bristol in September.
“The ECB board has convened via conference call to make the decision after being informed that Hales is deemed a witness and will face no charges.
“The independent Cricket Discipline Commission [CDC] has stayed the internal disciplinary process for both Alex Hales and Ben Stokes until the conclusion of any potential criminal proceedings relating to the incident.”
Stokes, who made his return to cricket for Canterbury Kings in New Zealand’s Ford Trophy competition on Sunday, is still waiting to hear whether the Crown Prosecution Service advises police to charge him or not following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
He and Hales were told back in October they would not be available for international selection until further notice – and the all-rounder was therefore excluded from England’s Ashes trip, despite having been named in the initial squad.
Stokes could yet return mid-series, if police decide not to charge him, and may be included provisionally when the limited-overs squad is announced.
The ECB also confirmed in its statement, meanwhile, that it has granted Hales a No Objection Certificate to play in the inaugural T10 Cricket League in Dubai from December 21-24.
In the wake of the Bristol incident, two gay men claimed Stokes was defending them from homophobic abuse.
Kai Barry, 26, and Billy O’Connell, 20, said in an interview with The Sun that Stokes came to their aid by standing up to threatening bullies.
Barry and O’Connell claimed they met the all-rounder and Hales in a nightclub on the evening in question and Stokes bought them drinks.
The pair said they had no idea they were cricketers.
It was reported that Stokes and Hales were later walking along the road near the pair, after leaving the nightclub, when Barry and O’Connell were subjected to homophobic abuse.
Journalist and TV presenter Piers Morgan, a celebrity acquaintance of several cricketers, claimed at the time that the fight occurred after Stokes and Hales had defended two gay men from homophobic abuse.
Neil Fairbrother, Stokes’ agent with International Sports Management, has said the star will offer a full explanation of his actions “when the time is right”.
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