England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been given permission by the England and Wales Cricket Board to take part in the lucrative Indian Premier League.
Stokes is currently unavailable for England selection after being arrested for his part in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
The Durham player is still awaiting the results of a police investigation.
Stokes, 26, was signed by Rising Pune Supergiants for £1.7m in last year’s edition of the IPL.
He has not been part of the Ashes Tests and although he was named in the ODI squad for the five-match series, he will not travel with the rest of the squad on 2 January with Dawid Malan added as cover.
When the Crown Prosecution Service decides if Stokes is to be charged or not, the ECB board will meet to decide his immediate international availability.
There was speculation the Durham man was going to join England for the Ashes series when he was pictured at Heathrow Airport following their defeat in the first Test.
Instead, he was travelling to visit family in New Zealand, where he played six limited-overs matches for Canterbury.
After Stokes was granted a ‘no objection certificate’ to play for Canterbury, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison conceded it would be “difficult” to prevent him playing in the IPL.
Last year, Stokes went for a record fee and was named player of the tournament.
In this year’s auction, to be held at the end of January, teams have a salary cap that has risen by 20% as a result of a new £2.8bn broadcast deal.
It raises the prospect of Stokes signing a lucrative IPL deal while he is still not permitted to play international cricket.
The tournament begins on 4 April – a day after England’s second and final Test in New Zealand ends.
It runs to 31 May, by which time England will have played one of their home Tests against Pakistan and the domestic season will be well under way.
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