BEN STOKES is in talks to play domestic cricket in New Zealand while his England team-mates star in the Ashes.
The banned all-rounder was spotted in Heathrow airport last night with his cricket gear and is on his way Down Under to visit his parents in earthquake-ravaged Christchurch.
Banned England ace Ben Stokes is in talks to play for Canterbury in New Zealand
And Canterbury Cricket have admitted they are hoping Stokes, 26, will feature for them in upcoming competitions. A statement read: “Canterbury Cricket can now confirm that they have been in initial informal discussions with Ben Stokes’ representatives regarding his potential availability for Ford Trophy and Burger King Super Smash competitions.”
Canterbury Cricket CEO Jeremy Curwin confirmed: “The CCA Board and New Zealand Cricket will independently be considering this issue in the near future but, until then, we are unable to provide any more detail on the status of the deliberations.
“As and when there are any further developments we will of course release further statements.”
Stokes was suspended from the England team indefinitely after a video emerged of him punching two people while on a night out in Bristol.
He remains under investigation by Avon and Somerset Police.An ECB spokesperson said: “We are aware that Ben Stokes is making a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family. His travel has not been arranged by the ECB. “He is not on his way to the Ashes, the England Lions or any other training camps within the England set-up.
EAGLE EYED SWOOP
“Ben is allowed by the Avon and Somerset police to leave the country.”
Should Stokes sign for Canterbury Cricket, he would find himself less than eight hours from the England team who are to play in Adelaide in the second Test from December 3. Social media erupted with speculation the Durham ace was on his way to save Joe Root’s men after a first Test thumping. Stokes seemingly laughed off the overwhelming reaction, tweeting: “GIFs the best thing to grace Twitter.”
England captain Joe Root and his men take on Australia in the second Test from December 3
Australia completed a ten-wicket thumping over England in the first Ashes Test on the fifth morning in Brisbane. David Warner scored 87 not out while debutant Cameron Bancroft was unbeaten on 82 to chase down the target of 170.