1. ITV Report

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales charged with bringing game into disrepute by ECB

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the ECB. Photo: PA

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board and will face a disciplinary hearing in December.

An independent Cricket Discipline Commission was tasked with leading an internal investigation into an incident involving the England pair outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year.

Stokes denied a charge of affray and was cleared following a seven-day trial at Bristol Crown Court last month.

However, the all-rounder and Hales will have to answer to two counts of breaching ECB Directive 3.3, which states: "No participant may conduct themself in a manner or do any act or omission at any time which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer or group of cricketers into disrepute."

The CDC, which has the remit to impose penalties including an unlimited fine or suspension and termination of registration, ruled the disciplinary panel hearings will be held in London on Wednesday, December 5, and Friday, 7 December.

Former Derbyshire cricketer Tim O'Gorman will chair the three-person panel, which also contains ex-England and Gloucestershire left-arm seamer Mike Smith.

The disciplinary inquiry was shelved until the conclusion of criminal proceedings against Stokes, with Hales not charged, following a late-night street brawl which took place midway through a one-day series against the West Indies.

Neither man featured in the final two ODIs, while Stokes missed the entirety of last winter's tour of Australia, including the Ashes, due to the police investigation that was ongoing at the time.

Stokes returned to action during the New Zealand tour but was forced to miss the second Specsavers Test against India at Lord's this summer due to a clash with his trial.

Stokes was forced to miss the 2nd Specsavers Test against India at Lord's due to a clash with his trial. Credit: PA

It is unknown whether being absent from England duty as a knock-on effect of the night in question will be taken into account if sanctions are imposed.

The December dates fall between this winter's tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and Stokes and Hales are both available for selection as England prepare to name their limited-overs squads for the latter trip.

The party will be national selector Ed Smith's first overseas pick since taking the reins earlier this year, but while he has shown a tendency for bold calls in the Test arena, the limited-overs group is much better settled.

With a home World Cup next summer the emphasis is likely to be more on reinforcing that group and tinkering with roles in different conditions than any radical rethinks.

Eoin Morgan's men will play five one-day internationals in October, followed by a solitary Twenty20 on the island.

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid will travel as first-choice spinners, with helpful pitches in Sri Lanka meaning they could be joined by a third - with Hampshire's Liam Dawson considered a safe pair of hands.

Lancashire's up-and-coming leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will also have warranted discussion, but if he gets a chance it may be in the standalone 20-over clash.

The same could be true of Pat Brown, the 20-year-old Worcestershire seamer who excelled on Vitality Blast Finals Day and finished as the country's top short-form wicket-taker this year with 31.

David Willey is one major injury doubt due to the back injury which brought an early end to his season with Yorkshire. That could open the door for Sam Curran, who is close to a like-for-like replacement as a left-arm seamer and talented batsman.

Senior paceman Liam Plunkett has also had injury problems and a judgement will be made whether to keep the door open for the 33-year-old to play some part in the latter stages of the tour or leave him out entirely to regain fitness.