England’s 16-man cricket squad land in Australia for series minus Ben Stokes — with captain Joe Root insisting he hopes for ‘good news’ surrounding all-rounder

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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.

 Joe Root is backing England to retain Ashes in Australia series

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Joe Root is backing England to retain Ashes in Australia series
 Joe Root insists he hopes for 'good news' surrounding Ben Stokes

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Joe Root insists he hopes for ‘good news’ surrounding Ben Stokes
 James Anderson arrives for the Ashes series at Perth airport

AFP

James Anderson arrives for the Ashes series at Perth airport

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.

 Former England captain Alastair Cook is all smiles as he arrives in Australia

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Former England captain Alastair Cook is all smiles as he arrives in Australia
 James Anderson signs autographs and is photographed by fans on arrival

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James Anderson signs autographs and is photographed by fans on arrival

“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.


I’LL ROOT OUT PROBLEMS Joe Root still backs England to upset odds and retain the Ashes despite possible absence of Ben Stokes


“There will be an internal investigation that follows.

“We’re completely in the dark as to what’s going to happen.”

 England captain Joe Root signs autographs for fans after arriving in Australia

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England captain Joe Root signs autographs for fans after arriving in Australia
 Steve Finn poses for pictures with fans as he arrives in Australia

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Steve Finn poses for pictures with fans as he arrives in Australia
 Stuart Broad dons his sunglasses as he lands at Perth airport for Ashes

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Stuart Broad dons his sunglasses as he lands at Perth airport for Ashes
 Chris Woakes at Perth airport with England team for 2017 Ashes series

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Chris Woakes at Perth airport with England team for 2017 Ashes series
 England cricket players kit bags are lined up outside of the team hotel after arrival

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England cricket players kit bags are lined up outside of the team hotel after arrival
 Ben Foakes walks past England fans as he arrives in Perth for Ashes series

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Ben Foakes walks past England fans as he arrives in Perth for Ashes series
 Assistant coach Paul Collingwood arrives at Perth Airport with the England Test squad

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Assistant coach Paul Collingwood arrives at Perth Airport with the England Test squad

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.

 Moeen Ali is with the England squad as they land in Perth for Ashes

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Moeen Ali is with the England squad as they land in Perth for Ashes
England Cricket Captain Joe Root prepares for Ashes Tour without Ben Stokes



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