Canterbury confirmed it had "initial informal discussions" regarding England all-rounder Ben Stokes' availability while in New Zealand.

Stokes appeared to take a step closer to playing in the Ashes against Australia after boarding a flight to New Zealand.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Stokes was making "a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family".

All-rounder readying for Ashes call-up

Amid speculation the 26-year-old was set to play for Canterbury in a one-day game on Sunday, the team confirmed it had spoken to Stokes' representatives.

"Canterbury Cricket can now confirm that they have been in initial informal discussions with Ben Stokes' representatives regarding his potential availability for Ford Trophy and Burger King Super Smash competitions," they said in a statement.

Canterbury Cricket chief executive Jeremy Curwin added: "The CCA board and New Zealand Cricket will independently be considering this issue in the near future but, until then, we are unable to provide any more detail on the status of the deliberations.

"As and when there are any further developments we will of course release further statements."

Christchurch-born Stokes did not travel to Australia with England's squad while police investigated the circumstances surrounding his arrest in the early hours of September 25 in Bristol.

Stokes was released without charge after being detained following an alleged fight with two men outside a bar.

Avon and Somerset Police has not issued an update on its investigation into the incident in Bristol and England director of cricket Andrew Strauss has previously suggested that Stokes' involvement in the Ashes will hinge on inquiries being concluded.

England suffered a 10-wicket loss in Brisbane, with the second Test beginning in Adelaide on Saturday.