Ben Stokes has said accusations levelled against him for engaging in a physical altercation with his wife Clare at a recent awards function are totally baseless and "irresponsible".
Stokes was named Players' Player of the Year at the Professional Cricketers' Association awards but photographs surfaced from the ceremony apparently depicting the all-rounder in a heated confrontation with Clare.
Stokes' spouse was quick to deny such reports and laughed off the matter by sharing a picture of her playfully squishing the cricketer's face.
"Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up!" she tweeted.
"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 into a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!"
Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! 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! @benstokes38 pic.twitter.com/1HmPV1ZfxG— Clare Stokes (@clarey_11) October 8, 2019
Stokes later released a detailed statement to the Daily Mirror confirming the "wonderful relationship" with his wife and rejected rumours about any physical assault.
"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," he said.
"It's an incredibly serious issue for thousands of women -- and men -- who do suffer domestic abuse."
"To falsify and spread these kinds of allegations so willingly is totally irresponsible. The way that this has come across is so far removed from what it was," he added.
England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison also verified Stokes' innocence during the event.
"We have spoken with both Clare and Ben, as well as others in attendance, who have all clarified the innocent context behind the still photographs taken at last week's PCA awards," he commented.