Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA) today announced that England all-rounder Ben Stokes has signed as its overseas player.
The inclusion of Stokes has been agreed by CCA, the English Cricket Board (ECB), endorsed by the New Zealand Cricket Players Association and sanctioned by New Zealand Cricket.
The Christchurch born 26 year old will be available for the Ford Trophy match against Otago on 3 December at MainPower Oval in Rangiora.
CCA Director of Cricket, Gary Stead, said the Canterbury team and management are thrilled Ben Stokes has joined the team and believes he has a tremendous amount to offer.
“After the approach from Ben’s representatives everything has happened very quickly for us to the extent that we are now delighted to welcome Ben into the team,” said CCA Director of Cricket Gary Stead.
“Ben will bring international experience to what is a relatively youthful changing room.”
“He will also bring depth to our seam attack which has been affected by a string of injuries and provide more balance and firepower to our batting line up.”
“While Ben awaits the outcome of an investigation underway in the UK, he wants to maintain his fitness and his connection with the game.”
“He is a brilliant all-round player and we are really pleased to have secured one of the world’s best players in our domestic competition.”
“His experience will be invaluable to our young cricketers as we look defend our Ford Trophy title and improve performances in the Burger King Super Smash.”
“The team have expressed their excitement about the opportunity to learn from and play with Ben.”
Stokes arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday to spend time with family and friends. He is currently unavailable for selection to represent England whilst he awaits the outcome of an investigation into an incident in September.
Canterbury Cricket CEO, Jez Curwin, gave clarity on the organisation’s position on players eligibility, stating the Association has acted consistently and appropriately.
“While it would be easy to draw direct comparisons between the position taken recently with another player, we have to reiterate that in that situation the player was free to play until such time as he pleaded guilty to the charges.”
“We believe Ben has the right to be treated the same way as other players.”
“It is also our understanding that Ben would be free to play County cricket in the English domestic competition were they in season.”
“Of course, as with all players, we can reassess the situation should it change.”
“Whilst we have spoken to the ECB there are a lot of sensitive facts around Ben’s matter that we have not been privy to however having spent time with Ben we are very comfortable that he wants to come to play for Canterbury for all the right reasons and get back on the park.”
“The Ashes Series is an obvious connection however that has not been a consideration for us or Ben at this time, he is just keen to be able to work again.”
“I have spoken with Ben and he is just really excited to have the opportunity to get back out onto the Oval and play the sport that he loves and is grateful to Canterbury Cricket and New Zealand Cricket for giving him the chance to represent Canterbury Cricket.”
Due to the on continuing investigation Ben and his management are not available to comment at this time.