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Ben Stokes out cheaply in cricket return

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Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes  made his highly anticipated return to cricket on Sunday but an Ashes call-up seems a long way off.

Stokes was the drawcard at Mainpower Oval in Rangiora on Sunday, however, he lasted just seven balls at the crease during Canterbury’s Ford Trophy one-day match against Otago Volts.

Christchurch-born Stokes surprisingly joined first-class New Zealand side Canterbury amid uncertainty over his participation in the Ashes series against Australia.

Stokes did not travel to Australia with his England team-mates, who suffered a crushing 10-wicket loss in the opening Test in Brisbane, while police investigated the circumstances surrounding his arrest on September 25 in Bristol.

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The 26-year-old – suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) when footage of the incident emerged – was released without charge having been detained following an alleged fight with two men outside of a bar, while police refereed his case to the Crown Prosecution Service for “charging advice”.

Batting at number four on the weekend, Stokes – with six Test centuries and three ODI hundreds for England – scored just two runs before he was bowled by Anaru Kitchen.

“Luckily, he’s as an all-rounder so he’ll get a go with the ball,” said Canterbury Cricket chief executive Jeremy Curwin.