Ben Stokes is expected to touch down in New Zealand on Friday and join up with the England squad

London (AFP) - Ben Stokes will join the England squad in New Zealand after he pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray in court on Tuesday, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

“Having entered his plea at Bristol Magistrates’ Court today, Ben Stokes will now travel to New Zealand to join the England squad,” said an ECB spokesman.

“He departs tomorrow, Wednesday 14 February, and will arrive on Friday 16 February, ready to train with England team-mates in Hamilton.”

All-rounder Stokes, accused of involvement in an altercation outside a nightclub in the southwestern English city of Bristol that cost him his place on the Ashes tour, pleaded not guilty to the charge of affray.

It follows the altercation during the early hours of September 25 last year, several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.