Stokes on his way to New Zealand to play cricket

Stokes arrival in New Zealand has sparked rumors of an Ashes return

Stokes arrival in New Zealand has sparked rumors of an Ashes return

Speculation about Stokes' intentions arose when he was reportedly spotted at London's Heathrow Airport with his cricket gear, with photos spreading quickly on social media.

Stokes has been given a non-objection certificate by the European Central Bank to play domestic cricket although he remains suspended for England until it is made clear whether or not he will face criminal charges for his role in a late night altercation in September.

In response to wildfire rumours on social media, the European Central Bank confirmed that Stokes was simply making a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family.

Canterbury coach Gary Stead said Stokes' possible involvement or not in the Ashes "hasn't been discussed whatsoever".

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The prodigious all-rounder is now suspended pending a police investigation into an alleged assault which saw him dropped from the national squad for The Ashes series against Australia.

Stokes moved to England with his parents as a 12-year-old after his New Zealand rugby league worldwide father, Ged, took up a coaching job in Cumbria.

Canterbury Cricket chief executive Jez Curwin didn't rule it out as a possibility, telling reporters "we'd be delighted to have him come and play for us if we ever got to that stage".

If he does play, it will mark the New Zealand-born cricketer's first competitive game since England's one-day global against the West Indies on September 24. "His travel arrangements have not been arranged by the European Central Bank", an ECB statement read.

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However, it is understood that after being arrested and then released "under investigation", Stokes is free to travel and leave the country.

On Stokes' prospects of playing any part in the Ashes, Strauss added: "We're waiting for the police to make a charging decision and, until that happens, nothing has changed".

Australia won the first Test in Brisbane this week by 10 wickets, with the day-night second Test starting in Adelaide on Saturday.

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