Yes I want England's talisman Ben Stokes back in the team after first Test failure but not yet... this is wrong
- England all-rounder Ben Stokes has flown out to New Zealand to visit family
- The?26-year-old was spotted lugging his gear through Heathrow on Monday
- Andrew Strauss had every chance to tell us of the development, but he did not
- COMMENT: This looks like a quick fix. There has been a shift in the agenda??
Did England think they could just sneak him on to a plane without anyone noticing?
Did they really believe they could take the first steps towards slipping Ben Stokes back into the Ashes while everyone was looking the other way worrying about Jonny Bairstow’s headbutt?
That is what it looks like. That is why Tuesday's news of England’s suspended talisman travelling to New Zealand to visit family — and play a bit of cricket — came as a complete shock.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has flown out to New Zealand to?visit family and play cricket
Andrew Strauss (left) had every opportunity to tell everyone on Monday but he did not
Perhaps they should have realised that the sight of one of the most recognisable cricketers in the world lugging his gear through Heathrow might have been a clue. The ECB could hardly expect Stokes to travel incognito when everyone has a camera now. It was all over social media like a rash.
Andrew Strauss had every opportunity to tell everyone on Monday that Stokes was heading to New Zealand, but he did not. Why, it might even have stopped the media concentrating on how Australia have won the PR battle off the field even more convincingly than the Test on it since the last day in Brisbane.
Bairstow’s headbutt would have been forgotten. Instead the first everyone knew was when Twitter all but exploded.
So it now looks as if all semblance of morals being adhered to and the tarnished image of the game being repaired have been suddenly forgotten.
This looks like a desperate quick fix. We are looking at another Ashes thrashing in Australia here, lads. Quick, send for Ben and never mind the consequences.
The 26-year-old was pictured on Twitter on Monday night lugging his gear through Heathrow
The ECB looked sure to take a stand and leave the all-rounder out of all cricket this winter
There is no doubt now that there has been a shift of the agenda. The ECB looked sure to take a stand and leave Stokes out of all cricket this winter when those shocking images of that night at the Mbargo Bar in Bristol appeared in The Sun.?
Paul Newman’s take back in September
He had been warned several times about his behaviour but clearly he had not listened and now had to learn his lesson. So much for that.
This all seems so premature. Is Stokes not still the subject of a police investigation?
Should England not wait for the outcome of that inquiry before they rush him to the other side of the world to play for Canterbury?
He is meant to be suspended. Does this mean he could play for Durham if it were the English summer? Does this mean he will gain a No Objection Certificate — permission for him to take part in an overseas domestic tournament — and be able to cash in on the IPL next April as if nothing had happened?
There are no bail conditions for Stokes so he is allowed to leave the country — and did not have to tell police he was travelling — while being under investigation for causing actual bodily harm.
Joe Root and the rest of the England team arrived in Adelaide on Tuesday?for the second Test
But why the rush? Does this mean Stokes is expecting to be cleared any day and has been given the nudge and wink by England that they would very much like him to be part of their under-siege team in time for the third Test in Perth? Surely the next step will be police handing the results of their investigation to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will then decide whether there are grounds to charge Stokes.
There still seems some way to go in the legal process. Make no mistake, for England to give their permission for Stokes to play for Canterbury in his native Christ-church on Sunday is the first step towards him being cleared to take on Australia here. It has to be.
If the police clear Stokes then as sure as night follows day he will be on another plane, this time to Perth for the third Test that follows Saturday’s match here in Adelaide.
There is even a two-day warm-up in Western Australia first for him to have more practice.
And then the ECB’s ‘independent’ disciplinary commission under Tim O’Gorman will be exposed as simple window dressing. The ECB hierarchy are calling the shots. Not former Derbyshire batsman O’Gorman.
Cricket wants to attract a family audience but is labelled with allegations of a drinking culture
And I for one still think that’s wrong. Yes, I would love England to win the Ashes. And yes, the absence of such a special talent as Stokes has cast a cloud over the whole series and possibly robbed the public of a compelling battle.
I dearly want to see him back in the side. But not yet. The short-term gain does not justify the long-term pain.
Cricket is desperate to attract a family audience but instead it is labelled with allegations of a drinking culture.
The relationship between cricket and alcohol is a complex one but it is one that could deny the ECB the crowds of families and women it wants when it launches its new Twenty20 competition in 2020.
They were meant to stand firm. But if the next step is clearance for Ben Stokes, it will look as if expediency is more important than doing the right thing.
And I for one would prefer another 5-0 defeat to that.
Most watched Sport videos
- Rio Ferdinand works up a sweat with girlfriend Katie Wright
- Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp insists 7-0 Spartak win was 'not easy'
- Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Antonio Conte press conference
- McGregor and Hamilton join Versace at London Fashion Awards
- Spartak boss disappointed following 7-0 defeat to Liverpool
- Speedy recovery: David Luiz running on anti-gravity treadmill
- Belgian fans throw hundreds of teddy bears onto pitch to delay game
- Dele Alli reveals he plays badly when he thinks too much
- Celtic 0-1 Anderlecht: Brendan Rodgers press conference
- Goncharenko urges CSKA to regroup for Europa League
- Highlights from the Street Fighter finals of the Gfinity Elite Series
- 'The game was fantastic': Mourinho on Manchester victory