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Stokes flying to New Zealand, not Adelaide Oval, England says

Ashes series

A photo widely shared on social media apparently shows Stokes walking through Heathrow Airport with large equipment bags.

Stokes moved from New Zealand to England as a child so his father Gerard, a former rugby league global, could take a coaching role.

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".

"I'll be sat at home watching and following the lads in the hope they do really well", Stokes said in a video.

"But", he added, "At the moment it's just wishful thinking from a variety of people that have put two and two together and come up with five".

An ECB spokesman said: "We are aware that Ben Stokes is making a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family".

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the former global was making a private trip to spend time with his family, but Canterbury have confirmed that they've entered into informal negotiations with the 26-year-old.

Stokes, 26, is not part of England's Ashes tour after being arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm in September.

But England officials say that's not the case and they're still awaiting a police decision on whether Stokes will be charged over the Bristol incident. His travel has not been arranged by the European Central Bank.

He was arrested before being released without charge and police and the European Central Bank are both still investigating the incident.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) quickly dismissed the rumour he would join the team for Saturday's second Test, saying he was instead paying for his own flights to visit family in New Zealand.

"He is not on his way to the Ashes, the England Lions or any other training camps within the England set-up".