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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Ben Stokes returning to England for 'family reasons' after spell in New Zealand

The cricketer had been playing for Canterbury after being dropped by England for Ashes series due to continuing investigation by police after he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in September.

Ben Stokes is returning to England after a short spell of playing cricket in New Zealand. Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images
Ben Stokes is returning to England after a short spell of playing cricket in New Zealand. Kai Schwoerer / Getty Images

Ben Stokes is to return to the UK "for family reasons" following a month-long spell with New Zealand side Canterbury, the club has said.

In a statement, Stokes said he had "thoroughly enjoyed" training and playing with the side, and that everyone had "gone out of their way to make me feel at home".

Canterbury's chief executive Jez Curwin said: "Ben has been great around the club, the team and the staff.

"We can't fault his attitude or his all-round contribution in his time with us and we are sorry that he couldn't stay with us for longer but Ben knows that he will always find a welcome here should the opportunity arise for him to return."

Stokes signed as an overseas player at the end of November and made his debut for Canterbury against Otago in New Zealand's 50-over Ford Trophy.

Stokes played in six matches for Canterbury - in both the 50 over Ford Trophy and T20 Super Smash competitions.

After opening his account with a disappointing 2 against Otago on December 3 and going 49 without a wicket with the ball, he hit 34 against Auckland three days later.

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His top score during his spell in New Zealand was 93 in the T20 game against Otago in Christchurch, which followed the 26-year-old being run out for a duck against Northern Districts.

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Stokes was dropped from England's Ashes Test tour after he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in Bristol on September 25.

The Crown Prosecution Service is assessing evidence from Avon and Somerset Police in order for a decision to be made on whether he should face charges over the alleged incident.