Scandal-hit England all-rounder Ben Stokes is likely to be given permission to sign a handsome contract in the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) auction even if he is on suspension from the national duty.
The full executive board of the ECB will make the eventual decision whether Stokes can play in the world’s most high-profile cricket tournament or not. However, after issuing NOC for him to take part in New Zealand’s domestic T20 tournament for Canterbury it will be hard to deny him a huge paycheck in India.
However, Stokes’ international future still remains in doubt as the England and Wales Cricket Board are waiting for Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) verdict to decide their next course of action. The 26-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in the infamous street brawl incident outside a nightclub at Bristol.
"Ben asked for an NOC to play in New Zealand and we were happy to grant one. He remains on full pay. It's up to him to decide if he wants to play in the IPL. We could say we don't want him to go. But I imagine that, having given him an NOC to go and play in New Zealand, it would be difficult for us to say we would not apply the same thinking towards playing in other parts of the world," Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive quoted as per Telegraph.co.uk.
"We would want board backing for a decision of this magnitude and the implications for it in terms of reputation is something we will have to work out. The full board are now involved in this and any application from Ben for a no objection certificate to play in India will be considered by them," he added.
Earlier, the ECB had released a statement saying that opening batsman Alex Hales, who was there with Stokes in that street brawl saga on September 25, will be considered for selection when the Ashes tourists pick their squad for the limited-overs leg of their Australia trip.
"Alex Hales will now be considered for England selection, following confirmation that he is no longer a suspect in relation to an incident in Bristol in September," the ECB statement read.
Meanwhile, England will enter into the fourth Test on Boxing Day already three down and on the verge of facing yet another whitewash Down Under. Even though Australia have already secured the urn, Melbourne Cricket Ground is expected to boast a world-record Test crowd.