England cricket should ‘move on’ from Ben Stokes brawl incident: Chris Rogers
Ben Stokes was initially included in England’s 16-man Ashes squad led by skipper Joe Root, but a video of the brawl that saw him get arrested has placed him under scrutiny.Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:12 IST
Former Australia cricketer Chris Rogers reckons the ongoing controversy involving England vice-captain Ben Stokes could have contrasting effects on the team. Rogers has urged England to address the issue and move on.
Stokes and his England teammate Alex Hales were handed ‘indefinite bans’ by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the former was arrested for causing bodily harm to a person — reportedly a former soldier — outside a nightclub in Bristol. The police are currently investigating the matter, following which the ECB is expected to have an inquiry of their own to decide on Stokes’ immediate future.
Drawing parallels between the 2013 Ashes incident wherein David Warner punched Joe Root in a bar and the one that has hogged all the limelight involving Stokes, Rogers said England must get on with the task that lays ahead.
Rogers told The Mirror, “It’s going to be a factor; I just think it needs to be addressed. You have to get it out in the open, deal with it and move on. Credit to Darren Lehmann, that’s what he did. One of the first bits of business he did was call (David) Warner on it and say, ‘This is your last chance, you’ve got to start doing the right things’.”
“It almost galvanised us a bit (and) it could have that effect on England during The Ashes. It could have the opposite effect as well — it could cause a bit of friction, but it’ll come down to the characters involved and the leaders, they’re the most important people,” Rogers added.
The former Australian opener is of the opinion that Stokes should not be a part of the touring England side for the Ashes. “The contest is worse for it, if he’s not allowed to play, that’s for sure because he’s such a big figure in England’s side. Stokes is the enforcer, the guy who is going to stand up to the Australian way. It’s going to leave a big hole that somehow England are going to have to fill,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see which characters step up to fill the void. But at the moment I don’t see how you can fill that hole. If he’s missing, it lessens the contest in many respects,” Rogers expressed.
‘Not the be all, end all’
Meanwhile, Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has said England have the ability to win Ashes even if they play the series without Stokes.
Starc said, “Everyone in world cricket knows how good Ben is. If he does come, we know how good a player he is and he makes that team much more balanced. If he’s not there it’s a big blow for them. But he’s not the be all and end all of their team. There’s plenty of other guys we need to worry about.”
“Some experienced bowlers, some experienced batsmen at the top. They bat quite deep as well, when you’ve got Moeen Ali coming in at No.8 and (Chris) Woakes probably coming in at 9. It’s not just about one guy,” he added.