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Cricket Australia coach steers clear of row, Swann calls Ben Stokes a ‘hero’

Cricket Australia’s bowling coach David Saker has called Ben Stokes a ‘good man’ after the England all-rounder was arrested after a drunken brawl outside a Bristol nightclub

cricket Updated: Sep 29, 2017 16:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ben Stokes,Cricket Australia,Australian cricket team
Ben Stokes of England has put his Ashes future in jeopardy after a video has emerged showing the star all-rounder beating up people outside a nightclub in Bristol. Fellow cricketers have called Ben Stokes a ‘good man’ and ‘great lad’.(Getty Images)

Ben Stokes’ teammates and former colleagues have extended support after he was suspended indefinitely by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), with his former Australian coach David Saker refusing to comment on the controversy.

Stokes has been described as a ‘great lad’ and ‘good man’, after he was arrested by the police in Bristol for being involved in a nightclub brawl and released without any charges.

However, a video that surfaced later on showed Stokes landing punches on a man outside the club, and inquiries are being conducted by the police.

Saker, who enjoyed a long successful stint with England as their bowling coach, has refused to be drawn into the controversy but praised Ben Stokes as a person.

“I know Ben personally, I think he’s a good man but I’m not going to comment on something in the English rooms,” Saker was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“It’s their decision to make and we’ll just concentrate on making sure we play well for the rest of this series. They have to deal with that themselves,” added Saker, who faced the media after Australia’s win in the fourth ODI against India at Bangalore on Thursday.

BIG BLOW

Ben Stokes’ indefinite suspension is being seen as a severe blow to England’s hope of retaining the Ashes, set to begin November 23 at The Gabba.

James Vince, who will be touring Australia for the Ashes, said Stokes is 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,” Vince was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“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,” he added.

Former England cricketer Graeme Swann appeared to be extending support to Stokes, who has had a career replete with controversies so far.

‘STOKES, A HERO’

Swann told the Mirror and also published the same comments on Twitter, “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 added, “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,” he continued.

Swann went on to describe Ben Stokes as a ‘good bloke’.

“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,” he added.

First Published: Sep 29, 2017 16:06 IST