The all-rounder formally entered a not guilty plea to charges of affray in Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
But with a trial date likely to be set several months down the line, he has been granted bail and will fly to New Zealand to join England’s white-ball set-up.
A statement from the ECB confirmed Stokes will arrive on Friday but added he is unlikely to play in England’s last T20 round-robin match of the Tri-Series against the Kiwis in Hamilton on Sunday.
However, subject to fitness, he looks sure to play a full part in the five-match ODI series against the Black Caps running from February 25 to March 9 and the two-match Test series that follows before a full Indian Premier League season.
“Any decision to include him in upcoming matches will be made by head coach Trevor Bayliss and the England management team,’ said the ECB statement. “But he is not currently being considered for the ongoing International T20 Tri-Series.”
Stokes formally entered his plea of not guilty to charges of affray relating to the incident in Bristol last September which ruled him out of the winter’s international cricket, including the Ashes.
The England star was granted bail before the next hearing in the case takes place on March 12 but will not have to attend court on that date.
Stokes is likely to face a wait of several months before the trial goes to court, clearing him to play not only IPL but quite possibly the start of the English summer as well.
Yet the ECB statement emphasised any obligations he has within the legal process “will always take precedence” over his England commitments.
England lost their third T20 in the Tri-Series against New Zealand in Wellington on Tuesday, failing by 12 runs to chase down the hosts’ formidable total of 196-5.
The two losses against Australia has left them staring down the barrel when they face New Zealand again in Hamilton this weekend.
England will first need Australia to beat the Kiwis on Friday and then inflict a heavy defeat on their hosts on Sunday to have any chance of making the final against the Aussies.
The ECB will meet on Wednesday to hammer out major match allocations for 2020 to 2024, including the Ashes of 2023 as well as the much-anticipated venues for the flagship domestic T20 competition.
The Ageas Bowl is confident they have secured one of the five Ashes Tests with Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston and Old Trafford the other four hosts.
The Southampton venue looks increasingly likely to be named as one of eight hubs for the new T20 competition starting in 2020 alongside Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Headingley and Trent Bridge. Bristol and Cardiff are vying for the remaining spot.
Source : EXPRESS