ENGLAND’S cricketers landed in Australia as they prepare to defend The Ashes — but there was one notable omission.
Ben Stokes, who has been suspended from international duty pending an investigation into an alleged Bristol bar brawl in September, was not part of the 16-man squad.
Two gay men told The Sun that the all-rounder was defending them.
But he is absent for tourists as Avon & Somerset police continue their investigation.
Following England’s arrival Down Under, captain Joe Root insisted he hoped for “good news” surrounding Stokes.
He said: “As a friend, I hope [this] can be good news for Ben.
“But the reality of it all is we’ve all got to wait and see. We’ve got to plan as if he’s not going to be here. “In terms of the criminal investigation, we have to let the police get on with that.
“There will be an internal investigation that follows.
“We’re completely in the dark as to what’s going to happen.”
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England regained the Ashes in 2015 series following a whitewash in Australia a year earlier.
It was humiliation over the 2014 Christmas period with the hosts winning 5-0.
Root and Co. will be looking to make amends this time around.
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