Ben Stokes rejoins England squad after acquittal

Ben Stokes rejoins England squad after acquittal

Ben Stokes rejoins England squad after acquittal

Outside court, a statement read out by his lawyer solicitor Paul Lunt said Stokes is keen to get back to cricket being "his sole focus". He also insisted he had to intervene as Ali, who was left with a broken eye socket and Hale were mocking the two openly gay men.

Mr Stokes, 27, has been cleared by a jury.

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The ECB will shortly convene a Cricket Discipline Commission, which will consider whether Stokes or Alex Hales, who was also present during the incident, should face any sanction.

Stokes, 27, was accused of knocking out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale in a brawl in Bristol, southwest England, just hours after he had played in a one-day worldwide against the West Indies last September.

As the verdicts were delivered at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, Stokes closed his eyes and then looked up.

Prosecutors wanted to charge Stokes with two counts of assault over the fracas near a nightclub previous year in the southwest English city.

Stokes, who missed the Lord's Test due to his appearance in court, played a key role in England's victory in the first Test at Edgbaston a fortnight ago, claiming three wickets on a tense final morning to secure a 31-run win. The jury is likely to retire overnight to consider their verdict in a case that involves one other co-defendant, Ryan Ali.

Kai Barry and William O'Connor told ITV News they were really thankful for what he did, after they were being threatened with homophobic abuse.

He said CCTV footage from just before the fight showed he was "not behaving in a drunk way".

Mr Ali, an emergency services worker, told jurors the England cricketer "was very angry and looking for someone to pick on" and said he only used a bottle after what would have been a "difficult decision for me to take".

Stokes shook hands with Ali on leaving the dock at the end of the trial that lasted seven days.

It was confirmed later on Tuesday that Stokes will rejoin the squad for the third Test, which gets under way at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Ryan Ali, who was also charged with affray, has also been acquitted.

He said that deciding to use a bottle as a weapon would be a "difficult decision for me to take".

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