Ben Stokes charged with affray over incident outside Bristol nightclub

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Ben Stokes will appear before Bristol magistrate’s court. • ‘I am keen to have an opportunity to clear my name,’ says player
• Stokes missed Ashes but is provisionally named in Twenty20 squad

The England cricketer Ben Stokes has vowed to clear his name after he was charged with affray following an incident outside a nightclub in September.

The 26-year-old all-rounder, who was arrested on suspicion of

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Moeen Ali: I felt I was letting down the team and fans during Ashes

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Moeen Ali: I felt I was letting down the team and fans during Ashes • Spinner felt pressure after poor performance during Ashes
• Moeen played important containing role with ball in ODI win

Few players have had a tougher tour than Moeen Ali. A humbling Ashes series that brought only 179 runs and four wickets in five Tests left the all‑rounder a shell of his exuberant self.

Even the five-wicket win on Sunday in the

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Four questions for the tri-series

Four questions for the tri-series

With their most recent outing being the disastrous tour of South Africa in September-October 2017, when they handsomely lost all seven matches across formats, there will be more than a few flaws to correct for the home team when they kick off their tri-series campaign today by taking on Zimbabwe in the opener at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur from 12:00pm today. The following are a few things to watch out for during the series.

Can Fizz lead the pacers out of the doldrums?

The Bangladesh team conceded 1,004 runs in three ODIs in South Africa while taking just 12 wickets -- an average of 84 runs per wicket at just over seven runs an over. Needless to say, a repeat of such toothless and profligate bowling will not bode well for Bangladesh. To that end the coaching staff and technical director have been working hard with the bowlers in the training camp that began on December 27.

They have one big hope in the returning Mustafizur Rahman, who was ruled out on the eve of the South Africa ODI series with a twisted ankle. That is not to say that Mustafizur's presence would have made a big difference in South Africa as he averages a none-too-impressive 30. 55 in away conditions, but the numbers strongly indicate that his presence at home is a substantial one.

Back in 2015, he was the spark that ignited Bangladesh's ODI rise and his home record is a fantastic 26 wickets from nine matches at an astonishing average of 12. 34. His brand of beguiling cutters are especially suited to the grip offered by the Mirpur wicket, and how he starts today will be integral to Bangladesh's search for their first triangular trophy.

Will the number three puzzle finally be solved?

Since the start of 2015, there have been seven batsmen tried at the pivotal number three position in ODIs and the best average among them was the discarded Soumya Sarkar and vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan's 29, the latter playing just one match in the position in the first ODI against South Africa in Kimberley last year. Technical director Khaled Mahmud yesterday informed that Shakib will be the one tried in that spot today and, judging by his statement that the team management wants a regular number three, for the rest of this series.

Shakib is as good a choice as any, given his ability to read the game and take it by the scruff of the neck. With a rich 2017 with the bat, Shakib is well placed to solve the puzzle for the time being, but it will be important for him to hit the ground running today.

Will Riyad get the time his talent warrants?

Mahmudullah Riyad is the man for every position. He has batted as low as number eight in the order and as high as number three, where he hit his two successive World Cup tons in the 2015 event in Australia-New Zealand. In South Africa, he batted at number five in the first match, but was demoted to number six for the next two. Mahmud has recently said that the batsman has been underutilised lower down the order and said that he will likely bat at number five today. Like Shakib, if Mahmudullah can make this spot his own it will make for a more stable batting lineup.

Can Anamul step up?

Having hit a rich vein of form in domestic cricket, Anamul Haque has been recalled to the national squad at what could be the perfect time for the right-handed opener to make a comeback. Soumya Sarkar seems to have been deemed a failed experiment for the time being, and with Imrul Kayes yet to recover from a thumb injury, Anamul will now open with Tamim Iqbal. With the two left-handed openers named above not really making the number two position their own despite repeated chances, a left-right opening partnership with Tamim-Anamul may not be the worst thing.

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Mash wants Tigers to be smart but not over-smart

Mash wants Tigers to be smart but not over-smart

Bangladesh start the tri-nation series with the opener against Zimbabwe on Monday and the Tigers’ skipper was looking forward to the challenge and said that the team wanted to win the series.

Former Bangladesh coach Chandika, who resigned mid-way through Bangladesh’s South Africa tour is now in charge of Sri Lanka and he will have a bag full of tricks that he will be looking to apply against his former side.

Chandika have worked with the Bangladesh team for three years and has a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Hathurusingha has a knack for getting it right against former students – he worked with key Australian players which helped Bangladesh during their home series against Australia.

Mashrafe agreed that the former coach has a lot of knowledge but suggested that Tigers have also studied their opponents.

Asked if Tigers have a surprise for Chandika, Mashrafe replied: “Yes, we are thinking about it. We want to be smart with our decisions but not oversmart.

Technical director Khaled Mahmud meanwhile said that the series will be a challenge for him on a personal level. He suggested that he did not have much of a chance to work with the senior players ahead of the series but opined that Tigers will be looking to their youngsters to perform well and the team will be unstoppable if the youngsters in the team shine in the upcoming matches.

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