Stokes delighted to play for England again

Suspended English allrounder Ben Stokes free to play after police investigation

England allrounder Ben Stokes has been cleared to resume his international career while he contests a charge of affray following a violent incident outside a nightclub in September.

Suspended by England while he was under investigation by police, the 26-year-old is now free to play for his country, having been charged by prosecutors with an offence that could lead to a jail term if he is convicted.

"Representing my country is one of the greatest things that I've ever been lucky enough to do, walking out on to the field with the England shirt on is a privilege and an honour," Stokes wrote on Twitter.

"I'm extremely delighted to be given this opportunity to do this again.

"I can't wait to get back out on a pitch with the 3 Lions on my chest and feeling that pride that we all get and giving everything for the team."

With no date set for his court case, the England and Wales Cricket Board said "it would not be fair, reasonable or proportionate for Ben Stokes to remain unavailable for a further indeterminate period."

Stokes was expected to join England's squad for Twenty20 matches against New Zealand in February, the ECB said.

"ECB fully respects the legal process," the governing body said in a statement, "and the player's intention to defend himself against the charge."

Stokes, one of the world's leading cricketers in all formats, missed England's Ashes series loss in Australia because of his suspension.