Stokes pleads not guilty, faces August trial

Ben Stokes outside court

The England cricketer Ben Stokes has appeared in crown court via video-link from New Zealand and pleaded not guilty to affray.

Fellow England cricketer Alex Hales was also present.

The trial of Stokes, Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali, who were all involved in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September, will begin on August 6.

The trial is expected to last between five and seven days, which means there is a risk Mr Stokes could miss the second test which starts at Lord's Cricket Ground on 9 August.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes will miss the second Test match of the five-match series against India in August. They were also strongly advised to provide defence statements, setting out in detail their case, by May 22. "You will remain on bail as before".

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"The new approach will allow us to see more players throughout the county game, more often, and simplify the selection process", said director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss.

The Bristol incident and the legal process that followed kept Stokes out of England's Ashes tour of Australia but he returned to the team last month for the one-day global series against New Zealand. Without him, the tourists lost to Australia 4-0.

He was subsequently allowed to join the tour of New Zealand and played in the one-day worldwide series which finished on Sunday, hitting a six to seal a 3-2 England win.

Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol, and Hale, of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, will stand trial on August 6.

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