England cricket team has no chance in Ashes without Ben Stokes, says Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh has said he doesn’t see England cricket team winning The Ashes if Ben Stokes is sidelined. The all-rounder, who was arrested for causing bodily harm to a man outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol last month, has been handed an indefinite suspension by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).cricket Updated: Oct 11, 2017 14:54 IST
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has said England have no chance of retaining the Ashes if their vice-captain and all-rounder Ben Stokes is not a part of the touring side. The Ashes 2017-18 begins November 23 in Brisbane and Stokes’ participation in the series remains doubtful.
Stokes, who was arrested for a night for raining punches and causing bodily harm to a man outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol last month, has been handed an indefinite suspension by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The 26-year-old Stokes has also been replaced in England’s Ashes squad by Steve Finn, which raised the possibility of the former missing the entire series.
Waugh sees Stokes’ absence as a massive blow to England, as he says that Joe Root’s team will not be able to retain the Ashes without him.
According to cricket.com.au, Waugh told Sky Sports Radio, “England without Ben Stokes, if he doesn’t come, I don’t think they can win the Ashes. I think if it was anyone in the Australian side, they wouldn’t be picked. You can’t do that these days in public. It just didn’t look good and it’s a bad image for the game.”
Waugh acknowledged that Stokes is ‘probably their best player’.
“I think they (England selectors) are pretty keen for him to play in Australia … he’s probably their best player, so it would be a real shame if he’s not out here. Without Ben Stokes, we’ll win. I can’t see England winning and it’s too much pressure on (Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson, and they’re getting a bit older, and I can’t see them playing five Test matches straight,” he was quoted as saying.
Waugh’s comments resonated with that of former England captain Kevin Pietersen, who on Tuesday asserted that Stokes should not be a part of the Ashes series.
“Whether you like it or not, you become someone that people look up to. Someone that kids look up to. You cannot play for your country if you carry on like that. You cannot represent that badge. The more that you watch that video, the worse it gets. It is horrible, I can hardly watch the bit at the end, it’s horrendous,” Pietersen was quoted as saying to The Sunday Times.
“Australia is a hostile place and I don’t think with his personality, at least from what we have seen, I just don’t think it will work in Australia. Not this time. I wanted to look for excuses because I really like Stokesy and love watching him smash it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Waugh also criticised the Australian management for being impatient with their wicketkeepers. Following Matthew Wade’s poor run in the subcontinent with the bat against Bangladesh and India, calls have been made to bring Peter Nevill back into the side.
“We’re talking about who’s going to be the ‘keeper and they tend to focus on the ‘keeper scoring runs, not how he’s taking the ball. Nevill was doing a great job and then got dropped and now Wade’s improved his ‘keeping and they’re talking about dropping him,” Waugh said.
“You’ve got to be fair to Matthew Wade now, I guess, he kept pretty well in the subcontinent, so it’s difficult to know where they go from there,” he added.