London - England all-rounder Ben Stokes should be welcomed back into the Test team after being cleared of affray on Tuesday, said former national captain Michael Vaughan.
Vaughan, who has forged a successful career as a pundit since retiring from the crease, said the 27-year-old New Zealand-born star had been punished enough over the 11 months since a late night excursion in Bristol following a one day win over the West Indies led to him being charged with affray.
A jury on Tuesday unanimously decided in less than three hours that Stokes was not guilty as was his co-defendant Ryan Ali, who was knocked unconscious in the brawl.
However, Stokes and team-mate Alex Hales - who was with him when the brawl occurred - is likely to face a charge of disrepute by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which will be heard by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) chaired by Tim O'Gorman, a former Derbyshire batsman and qualified solicitor.
"I think the fact he missed the whole of the Winter in Australia is punishment enough for Ben Stokes," tweeted Vaughan.
"I personally think now he has been proven to be Not Guilty he should be allowed to play."
Stokes' England team-mate Jonny Bairstow, one of several players who were out with Stokes earlier that evening, said it was great news on both a personal and sporting front.
"I am really happy," he told Sky Sports.
"It has been a long 10 months for him and his family.
"Hopefully we will see him back in an England shirt soon as we saw the impact he had at Edgbaston," added Bairstow, referring to Stokes taking four wickets in India's second innings including the crucial one of Virat Kohli for 51 as England won a tight first Test by 31 runs.
Stokes has been omitted from the squad for the third Test when it was announced on Monday with the ECB saying they would review his position following the conclusion of the trial.