Stokes signs for Canterbury in new Ashes twist
Ben Stokes is set to return to competitive cricket as early as Sunday after signing with New Zealand province Canterbury in a move certain to fan speculation that the suspended all-rounder is in line for a recall to England's Ashes squad.
Stokes was omitted from the England touring party to Australia and remains suspended pending the outcome of a police investigation into an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
However, Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA) Director of Cricket Gary Stead confirmed the 26-year-old had signed as an overseas player and would be available for a one-day match against Otago on Sunday in Rangiora, near Christchurch.
The confirmation came a day after police said they had passed a case file to Britain's Crown Prosecution Service and were seeking advice over whether to bring charges against Stokes following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. The police said that a 27-year-old man had "suffered a fractured eye socket" in the incident involving Stokes.