Stokes' England teammate next in crosshairs in affray case

Nasser Hussain England India Test Series

England cricket player Ben Stokes was found not guilty today after saying during his trial he was acting in self-defence when he knocked out two men in a street fight.

But the jury returned a verdict of not guilty against the England cricketer and also cleared Ali of the same charge.

Several observers reported that Stokes shook Mr Ali's hand after the verdicts were delivered.

However, Stokes and team-mate Alex Hales - who was with him when the brawl occurred - is likely to face a charge of disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which will be heard by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) chaired by Tim O'Gorman, a former Derbyshire batsman and qualified solicitor.

Stokes, 27, was accused of knocking out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale in a brawl in Bristol, southwest England, just hours after he had played in a one-day worldwide against the West Indies last September.

The prosecutors alleged that Stokes abused the doorman of a nightclub in Bristol after the latter denied the cricketer re-entry.

Prosecutors said the all-rounder, who helped England to victory in the first Test against India this month but missed the second match because of the trial, had lost control after drinking heavily earlier in the night.

England cricketer Ben Stokes walks out of Bristol Crown Court during a lunch break where he is on trial accused of affray.

He said he had not been drunk but admitted he could not remember what had been said.

Mooney, representing Hale, asked Det Con Daniel Adams, the officer in the case: "We have someone lying on the floor, Mr Ryan Ali, and just above him, moving towards him is Mr Alex Hales". He did not deny punching two men (Ali and Ryan Hale, who was acquitted earlier in proceedings due to a lack of evidence), but insisted he did so as he feared for his safety and the safety of others.

"I didn't know, they could be carrying more weapons on them". "We're here to concentrate on the cricket and I'm sure that's what he'll want to get back to as soon as possible".

'Ben Stokes will now join the England squad for the third Specsavers Test against India, which starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

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