England all-rounder Ben Stokes has ended his brief New Zealand cameo and is returning to England "for family reasons", Canterbury cricket officials confirmed on Saturday. Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and has not been considered for England selection since, although he was named in England's one-day squad to face Australia next month.
"Ben has been great around the club, the team and the staff", Canterbury CEO, Jez Curwin, said. "What he does with his time is up to him".
Harrison revealed the European Central Bank will meet within a couple of days of a verdict being made on Stokes' case to decide if and when he might make his global comeback. He remains on full pay.
"It's up to Ben to decide if he wants to play in the IPL".
"We could stop him, but I'd imagine that, having given him one for New Zealand, it would be hard for us not to apply the same thinking".
As for Stokes' England return, as throughout since his arrest on September 25, the decision whether to charge will dictate what happens next, with a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing on the matter and a likely European Central Bank board meeting too.
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The inclusion of Stokes in the limited-overs squad may have given his supporters hope of a swift return but might be best viewed as a legal nicety to ensure the European Central Bank is not seen to be prejudicing any investigation or potential case with an insinuation of wrong doing.
Speaking about the processes that lie ahead for the hard hitting all-rounder, the European Central Bank official noted that they will have to see if any criminal charges would be imposed in Stokes. "You never want to see the game in that position. What we have to understand is how we respond to that and how we rebuild reputations of the individuals involved and the team", Harrison mentioned.
"In respect of Ben's situation, that will take place at the end of his criminal proceedings - should there be any".
The CDC cannot pre-empt the criminal investigation, but the European Central Bank board could sanction Stokes' interim return anyway.
He added, "We would want board backing for a decision of this magnitude and the implications for it in terms of reputation is something we will have to work out". He is facing charges from a Cricket Disciplinary Commission but that is on hold while any criminal matters take their course, which Harrison has been advised could take up to 12 months meaning it could be a long time before he plays for England again. "After that the CDC process will take place and will take note of any sanctions that have already been served", Harrison affirmed.