England all-rounder Ben Stokes headed for New Zealand, not Ashes

England all-rounder Ben Stokes headed for New Zealand, not Ashes

Stokes was spotted at London Heathrow airport on Monday evening, though, leading to suggestions that he is heading Down Under in preparation for England's next Test outing.

He remains unavailable for worldwide 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.

In response to wildfire rumours on social media, the European Central Bank confirmed that Stokes was simply making a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family.

Canterbury coach Gary Stead says there's
GETTY IMAGES Canterbury coach Gary Stead says there's"no guarantee Ben Stokes will bolster their ranks

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) quickly dismissed the rumour he would join the team for Saturday's second Test, saying he was instead paying for his own flights to visit family in New Zealand.

The Durham player is still suspended from playing by the European Central Bank pending a police investigation after he was involved in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol in September.

The New Zealand-born 26-year-old has yet to hear whether he will be charged by Avon and Somerset Police.

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He said: "We've got a Canterbury Cricket board meeting tonight, so it will be discussed there". However, we understand he and his representatives have been in discussions with Canterbury.

The England ace remains under investigation after a brawl in Bristol in September.

He is still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation. "His travel arrangements have not been arranged by the European Central Bank", an ECB statement read.

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"From a purely playing point of view he's a world-class cricketer, he's one of the best in the world.it would be a wonderful state of affairs to have him gracing the parks here", Curwin said.

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

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