Banned Ben Stokes handed fresh England central contract as he awaits Ashes fate

Chris Stocks
New contract: Ben Stokes: AFP/Getty Images

Ben Stokes has had his England central contract renewed despite being banned from selection amid an ongoing police investigation.

The ECB has granted Stokes a central contract for the next year but at this stage the all-rounder will not travel to Australia for the Ashes, with any hope he will be involved all but over and only a slim hope he might still be available for the one-day series that follows in January.

Stokes was last week made unavailable for selection pending the results of an internal ECB disciplinary probe into the circumstances surrounding his late-night arrest in Bristol last month on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

The 26-year-old is still under police investigation and it is understood there is unlikely to be any update on the progress of that until the middle of next week at the earliest.

Given the circumstances, the ECB felt it best to pull Stokes out of the Ashes for now to allow the rest of the squad to concentrate on cricket ahead of their departure for Australia on October 28.

A statement on the ECB website said: "Ben Stokes will not travel at this stage [to Australia], though no final decision has been taken on his involvement in Australia." Steven Finn has been added to the squad in light of the ongoping investigation.

Alex Hales,who is also suspended indefinitely for his part in the incident that led to his team-mate’s arrest, has also been handed a fresh white-ball contract despite being the subject of a similar ban.