Controvserial England all-rounder Ben Stokes has ended his New Zealand domestic cricket spell and will fly home to tend to “family reasons”, Canterbury have announced.
Suspended from international cricket as he waits on a verdict from UK prosecutors regarding his role in a Bristol incident which left another man with a fractured eye socket, Stokes signed with Canterbury as an overseas player at the end of November and participated in one-day and Twenty20 matches.
In a statement, Stokes, 26 — who was provisionally named in the tourists’ ODI squad for the series following the Ashes starting on January 14 in Melbourne — said he had “thoroughly enjoyed training and playing with Canterbury” and that he “couldn’t have asked for any more from my time here”.
Canterbury chief executive Jez Curwin, in confirming on Saturday that Stokes was flying home, said he had been “great around the club”.
“Ben has been great around the club, the team and the staff. We can’t fault his attitude or his all-round contribution in his time with us,” he said.
Many had earlier questioned the merits of hastily signing the all-rounder, but Canterbury coach Gary Stead on Thursday said Stokes’s competitive streak, leadership and cricket nous had been a boon for his side.
Stokes struggled early on in his NZ stint but struck form with a match-winning 93 during a T20 match last week.
— with AAP