ENGLAND Lion and Durham cricketer Ben Stokes has been sent home from the ongoing tour of Australia for disciplinary reasons.
The Durham all-rounder attended a hearing after what an England and Wales Cricket Board statement termed “unprofessional conduct”.
Kent seamer Matt Coles has also been sent home on similar grounds.
The pair will take no further part in the tour, on which the Lions have lost all five of their fixtures to date, and both have apologised for their behaviour.
The ECB statement added: “The pair had contravened their conduct obligations previously during the tour and had been issued with written warnings.”
ECB performance director David Parsons said: “On a very challenging tour to Australia, both Matt and Ben have ignored the instructions given to them around their match preparation and recovery - and following previous warnings, it is regrettable that it has been necessary to terminate their involvement in the tour.
“Both are very talented individuals - and it is hoped that, with the support of the ECB and their respective counties, they will take positive steps to give themselves the very best chance of fulfilling their potential.
“There will be no replacement players called up to the squad as a result of this matter.”
Twenty-two-year-old Coles said: “I am very sorry about what has happened in Australia and I believe I have learnt my lesson.
“I have apologised to the players and coaches involved, so would now like to move forward from this by looking ahead to the start of the county season at Kent.”
Stokes, 21, already capped by his country at one-day international and Twenty20 level, said: “I would like to apologise for the way in which I acted.
“I am determined to bounce back from this situation and I regret my actions off the field. I look forward to getting back to my county to start pre-season preparations.”
Durham confirmed they will have a meeting with Stokes upon his return from the tour.
The club said in a statement: “Durham County Cricket Club is disappointed to hear the news that Ben Stokes will be returning to the UK early from the England Lions Tour of Australia, following a disciplinary incident.
“Ben will meet with the club’s cricket management team upon his return to the UK and the club will make no further comment at this stage.”