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Ex-England captain Mike Brearley defends Ben Stokes, asks ECB to be lenient

While Mike Brearley doesn’t want strict actions against Ben Stokes, Andrew Strauss wanted a clarity on how long the side is going to miss his services

cricket Updated: Nov 06, 2017 23:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ben Stokes,Mike Brearley,Ashes 2017/18
Ben Stokes’ future in international cricket hangs in the balance after being caught in a pub brawl.(Action Images via Reuters)

Former England captain Mike Brearley has expressed his concerns over the manner in which the board is planning to tackle the Ben Stokes situation, stating that the authorities should be a bit lenient on the all-rounder given that “he’s a human being”.

Stokes was involved in an alleged pub brawl back on September 25 and had been subsequently arrested, released on bail, and dropped from the touring England squad to Australia for the Ashes. With the police investigation still in full flow, Stokes’ future with England stands on thin ice as he will have to appear in front of the Cricket Discipline Commission chaired by the former Derbyshire cricketer-turned-lawyer Tim O’Gorman after the investigation.

READ | James Anderson open to vice-captaincy in Ashes in Ben Stokes’ potential absence

“A lot hangs on this one person called Ben Stokes, who I have a lot of time for. I’m very sorry and saddened by his eruption, whatever happened,” Brearley was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “I think the law should take its course like any other person and presumably it will but once it has happened, I don’t think the cricket authorities should get high and mighty with him. He’s a human being, and subject to forces which he has to learn to control.”

Brearley, one of the only three English captains to win an Ashes tour at home and away, stated that a lot will depend on the 26-year-old Stokes in the upcoming tour as well. “I think it might, frankly. I think he’s key. He is one of the best batsmen, a very useful bowler and a brilliant slip or gully fielder. It makes a huge difference to the make-up of the side, as Botham did when I was captain,” he said.

Former skipper and the current team director Andrew Strauss reiterated Brearley’s words, although he was more concerned since there was no clarity on how long Stokes will have to sit out because of the disciplinary procedures.

READ | Mitchell Starc warms up for Ashes in style with Sheffield Shield hat-trick

“The situation, in a word, is complicated,” Strauss told the BBC. “There’s two different potential disciplinary procedures he has to go through, one is the ECB’s internal one and the other is any potential police action. Until we know more from the police, it’s very hard for us to put a timeline on anything.”

Strauss is the other captain apart from Len Hutton to have achieved Brearley’s Ashes double feat. “What we all want is clarity on what that situation is and how much cricket he will be missing for England,” the 40-year-old said. “We’re keen to get into that and move this forward but we’re in the hands of the police. Ben has been and is developing into a world-class cricketer. The fact he’s not out there at the moment is a blow to the England team.”

It was under Strauss that England had last won the Ashes in Australia back in 2010-11 when they won the series 3-1.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 13:48 IST