Ben Stokes will have to make a louder appeal it seems (Image courtesy: Getty)
Ben Stokes will have to make a louder appeal it seems (Image courtesy: Getty)

Will Ben Stokes play The Ashes? This is the raging question at the moment. While ECB have banned him from selection for the moment, they have also named him the vice-captain of the England squad for the mega series Down Under. England coach Trevor Bayliss called him a leader within the group when it came to cricket. It was in Australia in 2013-14 Ashes when Stokes first found his way to the headlines for his brilliance despite England s 0-5 routing.

Stokes with his brilliance was enthralling the fraternity when he decided to ruin all the goods, and found his way to headlines for a street-brawl for which he got arrested and where he reportedly punched 15 times in a minute s time. Worse, the New Zealand-born is set to get married next weekend.

Here s what some of the concerned luminaries had to say.

David Saker

David Saker was Ben Stokes former coach. Now he is leading the coach contingent in the archrival Australian camp for the India tour.

I know Ben personally, I think he s a good man but I m not going to comment on something in the English rooms. It s their decision to make and we ll just concentrate on making sure we play well for the rest of this series. England have to deal with that (a key player s availability) themselves, Saker told

James Vince

James Vince has managed to cling onto his Test spot and retained his place for The Ashes. However he feels sorry for his teammate who he calls a great lad .

It must be a very tough time for him and his family. I know him pretty well and he s a great lad. Tough time for him but he s such an important cog in that England team, hopefully it all gets sorted with and he ll be on that plane to Australia, Vince told Sky Sports.

Graeme Swann

Swann, one of England s greatest spinners, who ended his career during the disastrous Ashes tour in 2013-14, came in full support for his countryman and called him a hero .

If that video (published on The Sun) is what they are going on, then Ben Stokes is a bit of a hero for me,” Swann told The Mirror. Are we living in a world where someone comes at you with a bottle and you re not allowed to fight back? I don t condone violence and I would certainly take issue with anyone who looks to start a fight, but if you are on the receiving end then I can understand why you d want to stop it. As a dad, if I watched that and Stokesy was my son I d be patting him on the back and saying, Well done, mate . He is a teammate who has always got your back, he really has. The love that comes out for him from his teammates is real; it is not just put on.

Further affirming his support, Swann added, I don t know the ins and outs of the details of the video, I don t know whether he is sticking up for someone who is on the receiving end of homophobic abuse or whatever, but the long and short of it is Ben Stokes is a good bloke.

We aren t sure if Swann with his statement is setting a right precedent for parenthood but he did raise a valid question, the trigger point of this brawl is important here.

But then this is not the first time that Stokes has found himself in a controversy. Last year in June, he was caught for speeding the fourth time and was warned that another such offence would lead to his arrest.

Nasser Hussain

The former English captain knows the demands of an Australian tour, and keeping the same in mind feels that ECB should withdraw the star all-rounder from the Ashes tour (yes, really!).

Anyone who has toured Australia will understand my point about the level of scrutiny and attention you encounter there, Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail. Stokes will be a target. If he travels, people will want to take him on this can be the sort of thing that happens. Ashes tours are hard enough even when you are completely switched on.

I also believe that the ECB have a duty of care and should not put Stokes in a predicament that he would find difficult to deal with. The Board have handled the episode well so far, but the video has moved things on.

You reach these conclusions with a heavy heart because his absence would be a huge blow. Stokes is virtually irreplaceable England can still operate without him, they are much weaker. However, the overriding consideration that the ECB have to look at is the bigger picture and to do what is right for Ben Stokes and the game as a whole.

Michael Vaughan

Vaughan too was critical of Stokes and hopes this will be a lesson.

Ben Stokes can t say he was not warned, he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. People have said to him, There is only one person who can ruin your career and that is you. Nobody else. In time we could be describing him as a cricketing genius. But he has to understand that if he wants to be a superstar, and go over to India, earn huge IPL contracts and keep them, he has to be careful off the field. On the field he is a streetwise cricketer. But he is not streetwise off the pitch and that could be his downfall. I am hoping this is his lesson.

Alec Stewart

Alec Stewart said massive responsibility comes with leadership. He just needs to learn and learn fast, he told BBC radio. He s had a couple of hiccups when he was younger. Now he s just got to make sure we re not talking about this again in six months or even six years. There are some sympathies with Ben. He is a high-profile sportsman, he will be recognised, there will always be someone who wants a cheap shot but he has to make sure he reacts in the right way.

Trevor Bayliss

As the English coach, it s a huge blow for the camp. A chunk of England s hopes for the Ashes rested on Stokes shoulders. Bayliss was the Sri Lankan coach during the infamous 2009 tour of Pakistan. He labelled this crisis right up with the terror attack on the Sri Lankan bus.

It s right up there probably in the top two, I would have thought, Bayliss said. It s very difficult for everyone involved, something that obviously we didn t want to go through and hope that we don t go through again.


The ECB confirmed that its director Andrew Strauss would refer the case to the Cricket Discipline Committee. This decision was taken after The Sun released the footage of the video.

ECB had released a statement: Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for England international matches until further notice.

Each remains on full pay pending further investigation into an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday 25 September.

Andrew Strauss, director of England Cricket, will refer the internal disciplinary procedure for these two players to the cricket discipline commission (CDC), chaired by Tim O Gorman.

These decisions, fully supported by the ECB chairman Colin Graves, were made following the release of footage viewed by the ECB for the first time on Wednesday night.

Surprisingly, the Australian side, currently touring India have remained silent on this controversy. Struggling with their own form, they are yet to start playing the mind games.

Stokes can perish or he can mend his ways like David Warner did. The choice is his. That is when he plays next for England.