On this day in 2017: Ben Stokes arrested after Bristol nightclub altercation

Ben Stokes has been one of England’s most valuable players for the last few years. He was the hero of their 2019 World Cup triumph at home and also the famous Headingley Test in that year’s Ashes.

However, on this very day five years ago, he was involved in an infamous bar brawl that not only tarnished his reputation but also ended up nearly sabotaging his promising cricket career.

The infamous Bristol nightclub incident featuring Ben Stokes

Stokes, who was then England’s Test vice-captain, was arrested on the morning of September 26, 2017, for confronting and physically assaulting two men at the Mbargo nightclub in the centre of Bristol. Stokes also reportedly injured his hand during the confrontation.

The incident happened following the third ODI between England and the West Indies. His teammate Alex Hales was also present during that incident and even he along with Stokes were not selected for the fourth game.

The southpaw faced a subsequent trial for his involvement in the street brawl due to which he ended up missing the 2017/18 Ashes series in Australia. Apart from that, he also lost out on a lucrative sponsorship deal.

On January 15, 2018, the New Zealand-born cricketer was charged with affray along with the accused two men involved in the incident and the following month was presented before the British Magistrates’ Court.

When asked about justifying his actions, Stokes said that he did this to protect the dignity of a gay couple. Nonetheless, the prosecuting lawyer countered his defence saying that the cricketer himself had flicked a cigarette at the gay couple and mocked them. The all-rounder was eventually acquitted on August 14 of that year.

However, things just did not end right there for Ben Stokes. The following month, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged him for bringing the game into disrepute over the bar brawl incident and social media posts. The southpaw did not deny any of these and pleaded guilty to the charges.

In December 2018, Stokes was levied a heavy fine of 30,000 pounds for his actions and was declared eligible for England selection. There has been no looking back for Stokes after that point onwards as he established himself as England’s match-winner and is currently their red-ball captain.