Ashes 2017/18: England Players Arrive in Perth; Stokes’ Availability Remains in Limbo
The England Test squad has arrived in Perth in their bid to defend the Ashes title.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) October 29, 2017
Australia will start as the favourites, but England can still be dangerous. The availability of all-rounder Ben Stokes is not clear and remained the biggest talking point ahead of the much-awaited series. Stokes was allegedly involved in a roadside brawl, and on a video, he was seen punching and kicking two men. He was subsequently arrested for causing bodily harm to the two men outside a nightclub in Bristol.
Stokes got released without any charge, but the investigation on whether the incident happened is still going on. Hence his availability for the Ashes hasn’t been announced yet. Following his arrest, the England and the Wales Cricket Board subsequently suspended him, and it will be monumental for Stokes to prove himself not guilty to join his team ahead of the first Ashes Test scheduled to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane on 23rd November.
Former World Cup-winning Australian skipper Steve Waugh feels that without Stokes, it will be a very difficult task for England to retain the Ashes. Stokes have grown into one of the most important members of the England side across formats, and his absence will surely be a huge loss for England.
However, England skipper Joe Root feels even without Stokes the team has enough firepower to retain the Ashes. England will begin their Ashes preparations with a two-day tour match against the Western Australia XI in Perth on Saturday. They will then take on a Cricket Australia XI side in Adelaide from November 8 to 11 and at Townsville from November 15 to 18 ahead of the 1st Test starting at the Gabba on 23rd November.
Meanwhile, former England batsman, Kevin Pietersen who rose to prominence during the infamous Ashes series in 2005, stated that England could be humbled by a big margin, and doesn’t stand any chance to retain the Ashes.
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