'Heroic' Cricketer Still Suspended After Defending Gay Men During Assault

Cricketer Ben Stokes has announced he will not return to the England squad until after he appears in court for an alleged assault which occurred while he was defending two gay men.

ben stokes

The assault in question – which was captured on camera – took place on September 25 while Stokes and fellow England cricketers were drinking in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol.

Officers were called to the scene and Stokes was arrested and later released. A 27-year-old man – the alleged instigator – suffered minor facial injuries and was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The two men apparently at the centre of the attack, Kai Barry (26) and Billy O’Connell (20) told The Sun if Stokes hadn’t intervened, things could’ve been much worse.

“We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero,” said O’Connell. “Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.”

Stokes (l) and CCTV footage of the altercation (Image via Devin Randall)

Stokes and squad teammate Alex Hales were outside the nightclub when they witnessed O’Connell and Barry being subjected to homophobic abuse by an unnamed man. Stokes stepped in to defend the men and an altercation ensued.

“I’m not a fighter and we didn’t want a fight. We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman,” added Barry.

Despite Stokes’ legal troubles the England and Wales Cricket Board subsequently deciding to call the all-rounder up for the forthcoming Twenty20s in New Zealand.

However, as the tour clashes with the player’s first scheduled court date on February 13, he will not make his England return before then.

“I gave a full and detailed account of my actions to the police on day one – the same day as the incident – and have cooperated at each step of the police inquiry,” tweeted Stokes on January 15.

“I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name but, on advice, the appropriate time to do this is when the case comes to trial.”

Both cricketers will also face an internal investigation by an ECB disciplinary commission, but that will not commence until the legal process has been resolved.

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