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Rabu, 27 September 2017

Cricket star Ben Stokes 'threw 15 punches in one minute'

Shocking video footage has emerged of England cricket star Ben Stokes’ night out which resulted in him spending an evening in the cells.

Stokes, who is England’s highest-paid cricketer after signing for India’s Rising Pune Supergiant for £1.7million, was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an evening out with teammates.  

During a new one-minute clip, a man – seemingly unknown to Stokes – appears to try and attack someone armed with a bottle.

A man who resembles Stokes’ appearance was then seen allegedly scuffling with two men and one ended up on the ground following the incident in Bristol.

Ben Stokes (pictured wearing a green T-shirt) was seen appearing to square up to a man on the street in Bristol 

Just seconds later, the man was seen on the ground with the England cricket star standing over him

Alex Hales and Ben Stokes were photographed together during the night out in Bristol on Sunday before Stokes allegedly punched someone

Stokes is due to marry fiancee Clare Ratcliffe, with whom he has two children, next month

The footage also allegedly shows the talented cricketer – who has been likened to former England star Ian Botham – swinging a number of punches towards the two men.

In the clip obtained by The Sun, friends can be heard shouting: ‘That’s enough Stokes.’

Stokes was later arrested and released under police investigation and it put his international career in doubt.

However, the England Cricket Board announced on Wednesday that they were including him in their squad for this year’s upcoming Ashes tour.

The ECB announced last night that they had seen the new footage and added they will ‘respect’ the police investigation.

A spokesman said: ‘We have seen this footage for the first time tonight – when posted by The Sun. 

‘There is an ongoing police investigation, which will look at all available evidence, and we do have to respect that process.’

The incident outside the Mbargo night club in Bristol left the cricketer with a broken finger and police are still appealing for witnesses.   

On Wednesday, Stokes also kept his job as England’s vice-captain after spending a night in the cells after being arrested in the early hours of Monday.

Stokes, who is set to marry the mother of his two children Clare Ratcliffe next month, was released but is still under investigation over the fracas.

The ECB have confirmed that Stokes has a ‘minor fracture’ to his right hand following the fracas.

England cricket’s Test vice-captain Stokes, pictured on a night out in Manchester last week, was arrested after an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday night

But despite his troubles off the field he has been included in the England Ashes squad and kept his job as captain Joe Root’s deputy. 

An England team source, who fears Stokes may have broken his hand, told The Sun: ‘A man was threatening two people and evidently picked up a bottle.

‘Stokes told him to calm down and to step away and then the man started kicking off at him.’ 

One witness said the fight started over a taxi in a lively part of Bristol teeming with university students celebrating the end of freshers’ week. 

The man, who asked not to be named, told the Mail: ‘There were two people fighting over a taxi which they both thought belonged to them. One thought he was Jack the lad. The person was in a bad way – I thought he might be dead.’

Other sources claim that he stepped in after a glassing row.  

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has said that Stokes ‘has been given strong warnings about his lifestyle’, adding: ‘I am sure a few incidents have been brushed under the carpet by the management’.

Fellow England star Alex Hales was out in Bristol with him after they beat the West Indies on Sunday, and returned to the city yesterday to help police with their enquiries – but is not believed to have been involved in the fight.

The incident involving the England cricket star happened outside the Mbargo night club in Bristol

Stokes and Hales were on a night out with  James Anderson, Jake Ball (centre left) and Jack Knowles (centre)

Stokes, who was out in Manchester city centre last week after a one day match vs the Windies, was involved in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub that left a man in hospital with facial injuries

The England all-rounder spent a night in the cells before being released without charge

A 27-year-old man suffered facial injuries and was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary.  

The police probe means he missed  yesterday’s one-day international against the West Indies.

Stokes is no stranger to trouble and has battled to repair his reputation in recent years.  

In 2013, he was sent home from an England Lions tour in Australia, along with teammate Matt Coles, for persistent late-night drinking. 

England had to do without him at the 2014 World T20 after he punched a dressing-room locker in Barbados and broke his hand, and last year he appeared at Northallerton magistrates’ court in North Yorkshire, having been convicted of speeding for a fourth time.

Mbargo hosts an event called Sunday Shift with live music and a DJ. Most Sunday night events at the club end at 4am with last entry at 2am.

Nobody at the club, which was offering ‘happy hour drinks all night’ was available for comment yesterday.

Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘We were called to a disorder in Queens Road, Clifton, at around 2.35am on Monday.

‘A 27-year-old man was found to have suffered facial injuries and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

‘A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and has since been released under investigation.’

There is every chance England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss will now strip Stokes, who was photographed on the night out, of the vice-captaincy before England leave for Australia next month.  

Opening batsman Alex Hales, who was with Stokes, will also miss Wednesday’s game after returning to Bristol to help police with their enquiries. 

It is understood he was not directly involved when the incident took place at 2.35am on Monday in the Queens Road area of the city.

Details remain sketchy of what happened after a group of players went out to celebrate England’s win in the third one-day international on Sunday at Bristol’s Nevil Road.

But, with no team curfew in place, it is understood Stokes and Hales became separated from five team-mates after visiting Bristol’s late-night Mbargo bar before the incident which led to Stokes’ arrest. 

Avon and Somerset Police tweeted asking for information relating to the incident

The ECB director of cricket confirmed the Ashes squad would be judged on ‘form and fitness’

One report suggested the man who ended up in hospital had a verbal altercation with Stokes which became physical.

But they will have more urgent matters to deal with than an injury.

Stokes has a history of disciplinary issues and has thrust the sport into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons on the eve of the Ashes squad announcement. 

Asked whether Stokes’ place in the squad would now be under threat, Strauss said he had instructed the selectors to pick players ‘based on form and fitness, as they normally would’.

Sportsmail can also reveal that Stokes had already been involved in a late-night escapade during a Test match last month.

The player had a night out in Manchester and only returned to the England team hotel at about 3am after the first day’s play in the Old Trafford Test against South Africa on August 4. Stokes was seen with friends in Crazy Pedro’s, a well-known, late-night drinking haunt, but England personnel were informed that it was around midnight when he went back to the Lowry Hotel.

Stokes received a dressing-down from ISM, the company that manages his affairs, who warned him not to end up on the back pages of newspapers as Wayne Rooney has recently.

There was no suggestion Stokes had been drinking heavily that night in Manchester.

But, asked during a recent interview whether he still drinks alcohol during Test matches he replied: ‘Yeah, why not? We’re grown men, go out for dinner, have a few pints. I’m 26, not 14. I don’t have to drink Diet Cokes with dinner.’

A statement from Avon and Somerset police, who have issued an appeal for witnesses, said: ‘A 27-year-old man suffered facial injuries and was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary for treatment.

‘A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and has since been released under investigation while enquiries continue.’

Serious cases of actual bodily harm can lead to prison sentences of between one and three years, although if the case ever goes to court it is believed Stokes will plead self-defence.

The chances of a court hearing getting in the way of Stokes’s participation, who is yet to release a statement about Monday morning’s events, in the Ashes are slim. That scenario would involve the Crown Prosecution Service pressing charges before the team fly to Australia on October 28, which would be an unusually quick turnaround for an ongoing investigation.

The most likely scenario, if the CPS decide to take the case further, would be for a hearing early next year.

But England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan admitted the episode had been a distraction as his team look to take a 3-0 lead in their 50-over series against West Indies.

Hales is thought to feel aggrieved to be missing a game when he is not accused of being involved in the incident.

Jason Roy will return to the top of the order to partner Jonny Bairstow, while Sam Billings has been drafted into the squad.

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