BEN Stokes is set to face the England Cricket Board for a disciplinary hearing as early as tomorrow, with an expectation the superstar all-rounder could be cleared for an Ashes return.
Much still depends on whether an assault investigation by Bristol police amounts to anything, but there's a prevailing feeling inside England cricket that Stokes is likely to be suspended for two Tests and therefore available to return for the third Test at the WACA.
Such a ban would allow him adequate time to recover from the fractured hand he suffered in the incident that has landed him in hot water; and warm-up with a two-day tour match in Perth a couple of days out from the Test.
Stokes' alleged involvement in the now infamous nightclub brawl occurred way back on September 25, and the two key witnesses in the case came forward publicly two weeks ago.
The fact police are yet to announce whether they're laying charges has led to a feeling that they won't, particularly given the video evidence released by The Sun newspaper could not have been any more damning.
England Cricket Board boss Andrew Strauss called on Sunday for the police to quickly provide "clarity" on the situation, and it's seemed all along that powerbrokers have been waiting for the police to act before they ramp up their own internal disciplinary action.
However, with the start of the Ashes fast approaching on November 23, it's understood the ECB are needing to speed up the process and a disciplinary hearing could be held as early as Wednesday this week, UK time.
At the very least it will bring the long-running saga to a close and allow Joe Root and Trevor Bayliss certainty for the campaign ahead.
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