An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson has confirmed that there is no change in Ben Stokes’s case and despite initial reports of him joining the team after an internal disciplinary hearing. Stokes is under investigation for causing actual bodily harms to a 27-year-old man outside a bar after England’s win against West Indies in Bristol. Stokes was arrested by the police next day but was released and is still under investigation for the incidence.
An initial report in an Australian newspaper suggested that Ben Stokes was due to face an internal disciplinary hearing and would be a handed a ban for the first two Test matches, meaning he will be back for the third Test in Perth beginning December 14. However, these reports were put to rest as neither the ECB nor the officials traveling with the team have received any formal news from the police.
England’s coach Trevor Bayliss said if Stokesy joins the team it will be a bonus for the team:
“I haven’t spoken (to anyone) or heard of anything since we have been here, If we concentrate on that and wondering if he is coming or not, that might take the focus off what we’re trying to achieve so we have just been going about preparing with the players we have got here. If he happens to turn up at some stage, it’s a bonus. If he doesn’t, bad luck, we will just get on with what we have got.”
Stokes also suffered a broken arm in the bar brawl and is looking forward to getting back to net practice in the coming days. His England team-mate Stuart Broad said that the touring team would thoroughly miss stokes on-field skills but the character and the fighting spirit which he brings to the team is still up and alive.
“Fortunately, I don’t have to make that decision, “One thing I can say is you can’t replace the cricketer because he catches, bats and bowls. His character is still within this team, has been part of the leadership group for a few years now. He has been a very tough competitor, but someone who puts his arm around people. The characteristics he has shown have rubbed off on other people. He – without sounding ‘airy fairy’ – is still within this group, even though he is not here in Australia. It is hard to cover him as a cricketer, but you need other experienced, senior players to step up and make it their series.”