England all-rounder Ben Stokes is to appear in court on an affray charge on the same day he was supposed to be making his international comeback in a Twenty20 match in New Zealand.
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that Stokes is due at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on February 13 to face the charge, brought following an incident outside a nightclub in the city in September.
The 26-year-old, who missed the Ashes after being suspended from playing for England, is accused of affray alongside two other men.
The charge follows a fight in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol during the early hours of September 25 – several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.
Stokes had earlier said he was “extremely delighted” to be back in the frame for England selection after the England and Wales Cricket Board announcement on Wednesday.
The two other men who have been charged are Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26.
The charge of affray is made under the Public Order Act 1986 and effectively relates to fighting in public.
It is a triable either-way offence which means it can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the crown court.
It carries a maximum penalty when tried summarily – in the magistrates’ court – of a fine or up to six months in prison and when tried on indictment – in the crown court – of up to three years in prison.
Without Stokes England lost the Ashes to Australia 4-0.
While England were in Australia Stokes played a few games for Canterbury Kings during a month-long spell in New Zealand before returning home to England.
Meanwhile, Stokes has been named in the International Cricket Council’s Test and one-day teams of the year.
He is one of just four players to find his way into both the five-day and 50-over composite XIs at the ICC’s 2017 awards.
Stokes joins David Warner, Virat Kohli and Quinton de Kock in receiving the dual honour, with England seamer James Anderson joining him in the Test team.
Stokes scored 527 runs at 43.91 in his seven Tests last year, with 16 wickets. In 15 ODIs he scored 616 runs at 61.60 and claimed 14 wickets.
Kohli was named international cricketer of the year, as well as taking the individual ODI gong, with Australia’s Ashes-winning skipper Smith claiming the prize for Tests.
Women’s World Cup winner Anya Shrubsole was awarded the ICC’s spirit of cricket award for consoling South African players after she hit the winning runs in England’s semi-final victory.
ICC Test team of the year: D Elgar (SA), D Warner (Aus), V Kohli (Ind), S Smith (Aus), C Pujara (Ind), B Stokes (Eng), Q de Kock (SA), R Ashwin (Ind), M Starc (Aus), K Rabada (SA), J Anderson (Eng).
ICC ODI team of the year: D Warner (Aus), V Kohli (Ind), R Sharma (Ind), B Azam (Pak), AB de Villers (SA), Q de Kock (SA), B Stokes (Eng), T Boult (NZ), H Ali (Pak), R Khan (Afg), J Bumrah (Ind).