England cricketer Ben Stokes pleads not guilty to affray

Cricketer Ben Stokes pleads not guilty to affray following street brawl in Bristol

England cricketer Ben Stokes has appeared in a United Kingdom court via video link from New Zealand to face an affray charge.

The co-accused, 28-year-old Ryan Ali and 26-year-old Ryan Hale, also entered not-guilty pleas on the grounds of "self-defence and defence of another".

The trial has been set for August 6 at Bristol Crown Court and is expected to last between five and seven days, meaning Stokes will miss the Lord's Test against India.

The alleged incident took place outside Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol, where England had earlier played a one-day worldwide against West Indies.

"The new approach will allow us to see more players throughout the county game, more often, and simplify the selection process", said director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss.

"You will remain on bail as before until August 6".

Stokes was told he "must be here for your trial" and all three defendants were advised to provide defence statements by May 22.

Stokes was present in court to issue his not-guilty plea and confirm his identity as his trial preparation hearing got underway in Bristol.

England's second Test against India at Lord's starts on 9 August.

Ben Stokes will stand trial in August over an altercation outside a nightclub.

Ben Stokes, who recently returned to playing cricket for England after missing the Ashes and some part of the ODI series against Australia, played all five ODI's against New Zealand and is back amongst the form.

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