Ben Stokes, Alex Hales named in England's ODI squad for Australia series

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Controversial all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named in England's 16-man squad for a five-match ODI series against Australia in his first step towards an Ashes recall.

Stokes, who is now playing for Canterbury in New Zealand, is not a part of England's Ashes squad and is awaiting the result of the ongoing police investigation following a nightclub brawl on September 25.

"The ECB Board has convened via conference call to make the decision after being informed that Hales is deemed a witness and will face no charges".

The all-rounder is now playing for Canterbury Kings with he and Hales having not played for England since 24 September after they were declared unavailable for selection until further notice following their night out in Bristol which saw Stokes arrested.

Ben Stokes had few answers for Colin Munro's batting blitz when Canterbury and Auckland clashed at Eden Park Outer Oval.

But speculation that Stokes was preparing for a dramatic call-up was fuelled by his decision to sign with New Zealand provincial side Canterbury as their overseas player in late November.

The first Test in Brisbane was heavily one-sided, as Steve Smith and co. wrapped up a 10-wicket win, whilst the second Test in Adelaide was won by the hosts by 120 runs.

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Despite naming him in the squad, England reaffirmed it will not settle on any form of punishment - nor contemplate Stokes' return - until he is either charged or cleared over the Bristol brawl that left another man with a fractured eye socket.

Reports have suggested that England may draft in Stokes ahead of the third Ashes 2017-18 Test at Perth, but the England and Wales Cricket Board awaits police decision, which will be followed by their own inquiry.

"Whether it's any more of a circus than it's already been, it's hard to say".

After making just two runs and had figures of 0-49 off nine overs in a defeat to Otago, he got off to a promising start in his second match. Whenever he comes back that's going to be a bit of a circus for sure.

"At the same time, we're still two years away and there might be some younger players, like Craig Overton for example, who comes into the team and does well".

"We are still waiting to see what happens", Morgan said. "Both Alex Hales and Ben Stokes are included, though their involvement remains subject to any relevant legal or disciplinary developments in relation to the incident in Bristol in September", the European Central Bank quoted.