Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes will need to ‘bunker down’ if given Ashes chance
Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes must be looked after if he is given the green light to play for England in the Ashes.cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2017 17:10 IST
After the latest off-field controversy affecting the England cricket team camp, Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes will need to “bunker down a little bit” if the all-rounder is cleared to play a part in the Ashes.
Stokes has been deemed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to be unavailable to face Australia while a police investigation is ongoing following his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm on a night out in Bristol.
The vice-captain flew to New Zealand on Monday and Canterbury have confirmed they had “initial informal discussions” over the 26-year-old’s availability.
Former England captain Hussain says Stokes must be looked after if he is given the green light to play in the Ashes.
All eyes are now on the tourists’ conduct after it emerged Jonny Bairstow headbutted opponent Cameron Bancroft by way of a greeting in a Perth bar, an incident which the wicketkeeper-batsman said was blown out of proportion.
“I hope the ECB have planned for when and if he does go to Australia - Ben will need looking after and to bunker down a little bit after the Bairstow and Bancroft stuff,” Hussain told Sky Sports. “Going out to a bar is not the way for Stokes to go, in my opinion, so people need to look after him.
“There was some frenzy on social media on Monday night that he was going to be in Adelaide for the second Test. That has been quashed but when he arrives in New Zealand and, hopefully if you are an England fan, in Australia that is going to be 10 times as much.
“I think it makes cricketing sense [to play in New Zealand] as he hasn’t played for three months. You want him to get sunshine on his back and get back playing cricket. Then, if the police and ECB inquiries go his way, then he is ready to take the field.”
Hussain said England need to pull together following Bairstow’s antics, which attracted more unwanted headlines as Joe Root’s men attempt to hit back at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday following a crushing 10-wicket loss at the Gabba.
“It wasn’t the most sensible thing for [Bairstow] to do, especially after all that happened with Stokes,” added the former England captain. “It has put the team under pressure with talk of curfews.
“There may be people in the team not happy with Jonny - it is not a time to separate and go in different directions. They need to stick together, as the character of the squad will be tested.
“You are not taking on 11 individuals, you are taking on a whole nation. You could see that when Steve Smith was giggling in the press conference that Australia were going to make it an issue.”
First Published: Nov 28, 2017 17:10 IST