England all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to miss the third Test against India starting August 18 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham regardless of the outcome of his trial for affray at Bristol Crown Court.
As reported by The Telegraph, Stokes’ trial which began last week is not expected to conclude until Wednesday, a day after England are likely to name their squad for the third Test. Even if Stokes is cleared there is a fear he may be too exhausted to play at Trent Bridge on Saturday but he could also be suspended pending the end of his cricket disciplinary hearing. The final verdict, however, needs to be approved by the entire committee of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The length of any potential ban will be decided by the board and may take into account the fact Stokes has already missed an Ashes series.
Stokes’ absence in the Nottingham Test is highly unlikely to hamper England’s chances as they have found an able replacement in Chris Woakes, who, upon recall, took four wickets in the first innings and scored a maiden Test hundred at Lord’s, a Test which the host won by an innings and 159 runs.
England captain Joe Root, however, insisted that the presence of the 27-year-old all-rounder was missed in the dressing room.
“Ben is a huge part of this squad and he was missed not being here this week but what it did do was create an opportunity for Chris to perform,” said Root. “In that respect, it is nice to see guys taking opportunities and that is something we want to harness as a team and it is an example to the guys on edge of the team that when you get your chance make it as hard as possible to leave you out. It is a great headache for us to have going into next week,” he added.
Meanwhile, England, which are already 2-0 up in the five-match series, are likely to announce the same squad as that selected for the Lord’s Test.