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Stokes dismiss reports of altercation

By AAP Newswire

Ben Stokes has labelled allegations he and wife Clare were involved in a physical altercation at the Professional Cricketers' Association awards as "totally irresponsible".

All-rounder Stokes played a starring role in England's maiden World Cup win before repeating his heroics to help salvage an Ashes draw with Australia.

The 28-year-old Durham player was honoured for those achievements by scooping the Reg Hayter Cup at a gala dinner in London on October 3.

On Tuesday afternoon, pictures emerged of Stokes and his wife Clare appearing to become involved in a physical confrontation during the event.

However, Clare Stokes swiftly defended her husband in a Twitter post, which included a photo of her "squishing up" the cricketer's face as a sign of "affection" as well as one of them together at the awards night.

"Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up!" she wrote.

"Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other's faces cos that's how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!"

The New Zealand-born cricketer responded to his wife's tweet with a face blowing a kiss emoji.

Stokes later gave a statement in response to the allegations and took the opportunity to pay tribute to the "wonderful relationship" he and his wife enjoy.

"I have become used to people making stuff up about me, but of all the topics not to mess with domestic abuse has to be at the top of the list," the England all-rounder told the Daily Mirror newspaper.

"It's an incredibly serious issue for thousands of women - and men - who do suffer domestic abuse.

"For it to be toyed with for cheap headlines in this way just damages the cause of those who are abused.

"Clare is a strong, independent woman who can speak for herself.

"We have a wonderful relationship and I never tire of saying how lucky I am to be with her."

"To falsify and spread these kind of allegations so willingly is totally irresponsible. The way that this has come across is so far removed from what it was.

"It was a stressful 45 minutes for us when we found out, but we wanted to address it as quickly as we could."

The England and Wales Cricket Board said it had been in contact with Stokes and his wife, as well as others at the awards, and was satisfied with "the innocent context" behind the pictures.

Following her initial Twitter message, Clare Stokes also thanked her husband for organising a surprise birthday party for her, saying she was not going to "let some idiots ruin my 30th".

She also posted a video of the occasion which showed the cricketer making a speech, in which he said: "We've been through a lot over the last two years as a couple, so I hope tonight shows you a little bit of appreciation that I very rarely show you.

"You do know how much you mean to me, I love you and I wouldn't be where I am today without you, so happy birthday."