AFFRAY charges against a former Worcestershire cricketer have been dropped.

Joe Clarke, who played for the county until 2018, had been due to face trial over an incident in Powys last year, but found out last week the charges had been dropped.

The 25-year-old, considered one of the most talented players yet to receive a senior England cap, was expecting to stand trial in Mold Crown Court.

Clarke, alongside four co-defendants, submitted a not guilty plea at an initial hearing and has now been advised that the matter has been closed due to a lack of evidence.

A spokesperson for Clarke told the PA news agency: “Joe maintained his innocence throughout and co-operated fully with police in providing an account of the incident.

"Appearing before Welshpool Magistrates’ Court in June, Joe entered a not-guilty plea.

“We are pleased to advise that after a review of the evidence conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service following Joe’s first appearance, they have concluded that there was insufficient evidence and the case against Joe has been formally discontinued.”

Clarke was fined and banned by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2019 for bringing the game into disrepute.

This was following the rape trial of his former Worcestershire team-mate Alex Hepburn, in which Whatsapp messages between the two, as well as then Worcestershire batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore, were shown in court.

Neither Clarke or Kohler-Cadmore were charged with or found guilty of any criminality around the case.

They were however informed by the ECB that they would not be considered for international selection for either England or the England Lions for a set period of time.

Clarke was said to have been close to an England call-up this season, starting the T20 Blast competition in fine form.

But with England already under fire for historic social media posts from players including Sussex's Ollie Robinson, the selectors are understood to be carefully considering the image of the team moving forward.