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Stokes, Hales Fined But Free to Continue England Career After Disciplinary Hearing

“Cricket and family are my life. This incident has been a huge burden for the last 15 months. I am relieved to get back to playing the game that I love without this hanging over me."

Cricketnext Staff |December 8, 2018, 10:28 AM IST
Stokes, Hales Fined But Free to Continue England Career After Disciplinary Hearing

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have been fined and handed backdated suspensions but are free to continue with their England careers, ECB announced on Friday (December 7).

The two cricketers had appeared before a Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) Disciplinary Panel after the ECB charged the pair with bringing the game into disrepute following the September 2017 incident in Bristol.

The panel imposed a £15,000 fine on Stokes, who was cleared of affray in August, for his involvement in the fracas and a six-match suspension which the all-rounder has already missed. Hales meanwhile was fined £7,500, of which £4,500 is suspended for a period of 12 months from the date of the hearing and suspended for four-white ball games. Hales is understood to have ready missed two of these game while the remaining two matches will be suspended for a period of 12 months from the date of the hearing.

In another seemingly unrelated incident from the one in Bristol, both players were handed additional bans. Hales was handed a two-match ban (which remains suspended for 12 months from the date of hearing) and £10,000 fine (of which £5,500 is suspended) in relation to a second charge that involves “inappropriate images.”

Stokes was also given an additional two-match ban in relation to an "inappropriate video" and a further fine of £15,000, which should be paid to a suitable charity or charities.

In all, Hales was handed a six-match ban from England white-ball matches, of which two have already been missed and four remain suspended and fined a total of £17,500, of which £10,000 is suspended. Stokes received a total eight-match ban from England matches which he has already served making him eligible for selection immediately. He was also fined a total sum of £30,000.

Stokes took to Twitter admitting a "huge burden" being lifted after the ordeal which saw him stripped of his position as vice-captain of the England Test side and also miss England's Ashes tour of Australia.

“Everyone will now be aware that the CDC disciplinary proceedings have now concluded and I accept the decision of the Panel. I had entered guilty pleas to bringing the game into disrepute earlier in the process and I want to thank the panel for their time and consideration now that the hearing has ended," wrote Stokes.

“The criminal charges and, subsequently, the disciplinary charges have made it difficult to make public comments about the issues. I have already apologised to my teammates, coaches and support staff for the consequences of my actions in Bristol. I regret the incident ever happened and I apologise to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this process.

“Cricket and family are my life. This incident has been a huge burden for the last 15 months. I am relieved to get back to playing the game that I love without this hanging over me. Although the disciplinary process is now over, I have learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer.”

Hales also issued a similar statement. "I am relieved today's decision by the CDC means this chapter is now closed and I can move on with my career," he said.

"There is no doubt I fell below the high standards expected of an international sportsman and that was the reason for my decision to admit the charges and accept the punishment handed down.

"More than anything, I sincerely apologise for putting myself in a position which allowed this very regrettable incident to happen.

"Now all I want to do is concentrate on cricket. I'd like to thank everybody at Nottinghamshire for their support and I am delighted to have committed to helping out in several of the club's community schemes."

Tom Harrison, chief executive officer of the ECB, said: "We accept the decisions made by the cricket discipline commission and the sanctions they have given to Alex Hales and Ben Stokes.

"Each pleaded guilty, admitted their charges and has accepted their sanctions. They will now be available to play for England, with the same support as all of our players."

England's next tour, in January, is to the West Indies, where they will play three Tests, five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.

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