How close is Ben Stokes to appearing in The Ashes?

Hugs for Ben Stokes as the NZ-born England cricketer is welcomed to Christchurch by family

Speculation about Stokes' intentions arose when he was reportedly spotted at London's Heathrow Airport with his cricket gear, with photos spreading quickly on social media.

He remains unavailable for global selection following his part in a late-night fracas in Bristol, but it has been learned he was granted a no objection certificate four days ago by the European Central Bank to play domestic cricket anywhere he chooses.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the former global was making a private trip to spend time with his family, but Canterbury have confirmed that they've entered into informal negotiations with the 26-year-old.

As England all-rounder Ben Stokes packed his bag for a private trip to New Zealand with his family, the cricketing world was taken by a storm as many believed that he will be joining his team for the 2nd Ashes Test against Australia. Ultimately if our board says no, it wont happen, (but) I hope from a coaching point of view we can make this work.

Ben Stokes arrives at Christchurch Airport after the long trip from London Heathrow
GEORGE HEARD STUFF Ben Stokes arrives at Christchurch Airport after the long trip from London Heathrow

The England all-rounder was ruled out of his national side's opening Ashes Test with Australia due to an ongoing police investigation, relating to a street brawl in Bristol two months ago.

Stokes was arrested after video footage purportedly showed England's test vice-captain throwing punches in a street fight after a night out celebrating England's win over the West Indies in a limited-overs worldwide. "His travel arrangements have not been arranged by the European Central Bank", an ECB statement read.

But Press Association Sport understands that the England and Wales Cricket Board has a contingency in place should Avon & Somerset Police clear the 26-year-old.

England, the Ashes holders, lost the first Test against Australia by 10 wickets in Brisbane.

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