Ben Stokes ‘keen to get back to cricket being sole focus’ after being cleared of affray

Today’s verdict represents the end of
an 11 month ordeal for Ben during which time he has had to maintain his silence at times when
many on social media, and certain parts of the press, predetermined his guilt long before
the trial began. The jury’s decision that Ben is not guilty fairly reflects the truth
of what happened in Bristol that night. On September 25th, Ben had been out with team-mates
celebrating an England win. Contrary to some reports, there was no curfew in place. Ben
was minding his own business when he came across two men who were subjected to what
Ben identified as serious homophobic abuse. It was only when others came under threat
that Ben became physically engaged with the men in question. The steps that he took were
solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present. In addition to the
extreme stress placed on Ben and his family by the trial, his intervention that night
has already cost Ben the England vice-captaincy, his place on an Ashes tour and his place on
a number of other England matches. The past 11 months have served to highlight to Ben
just how highly he values his position as an England representative, both in terms of
the privilege that role entails and the responsibilities that accompany it. Now that the trial is over,
Ben is keen to get back to cricket being his sole focus. Thank you.

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