Ben Stokes has signed for New Zealand side Canterbury as an overseas player and is available for selection for their 50-over match on Sunday.
Stokes’ inclusion was debated by the Canterbury board but has now been agreed with the ECB. Coach Gary Stead said: “After the approach from Ben’s representatives everything has happened very quickly for us to the extent that we are now delighted to welcome Ben into the team.
“Ben will bring international experience to what is a relatively youthful changing room. He will also bring depth to our seam attack which has been affected by a string of injuries and provide more balance and firepower to our batting line-up.
“While Ben awaits the outcome of an investigation underway in the UK, he wants to maintain his fitness and his connection with the game. He is a brilliant all-round player and we are really pleased to have secured one of the world’s best players in our domestic competition. His experience will be invaluable to our young cricketers as we look defend our Ford Trophy title and improve performances in the Burger King Super Smash. The team have expressed their excitement about the opportunity to learn from and play with Ben.”
Stokes’ arrival in New Zealand caused a stir earlier this week after it emerged he had been granted a No-Objection Certificate by the ECB, granting him permission to play domestic cricket in New Zealand.
On Wednesday Avon & Somerset Police confirmed they had passed a file on Stokes’ case to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging advice, and that a 27-year-old man had sustained a fractured eye socket during the incident.
While Stokes is nearby and gaining match practice, his involvement in the Ashes remains unlikely.