London: Feb 21, 2013
Matt Coles and Ben Stokes have both been sent home from the second-string England Lions tour of Australia, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Wednesday.
Kent seamer Coles and Durham all-rounder Stokes were sanctioned for what an ECB statement termed their “unprofessional conduct” and will take no further part on a tour where the Lions, England’s national A or reserve side, have lost all of their five fixtures so far.
The statement added: “The pair had contravened their conduct obligations previously during the tour and had been issued with written warnings.”
ECB performance director David Parsons said: “On a very challenging tour to Australia, both Matt and Ben have ignored the instructions given to them around their match preparation and recovery.
“And following previous warnings, it is regrettable that it has been necessary to terminate their involvement in the tour.”
The 21-year-old Stokes, already capped by England in one-day international and Twenty20 cricket, said: “I would like to apologise for the way in which I acted. I am determined to bounce back from this situation and I regret my actions off the field.”
Coles, 22, also apologised for his conduct by saying: “I am very sorry about what has happened in Australia and I believe I have learnt my lesson.”
Although neither man was on the verge of Test selection, their expulsion from the Lions tour is an embarrassment Ashes-holders England could have done without ahead of this year’s home-and-away series against arch-rivals Australia.
The Lions lost their three warm-up matches and the first two unofficial one-dayers against Australia A, with all but one of the defeats emphatic.
Three more matches remain in the series with Australia A, at Hobart on February 22 and 25 and in Sydney on March 1.
There was better news for England across the Tasman Sea on Wednesday when they beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win the second one-day international in Napier, a match in which 22-year-old batsman Joe Root scored 79 not out as the tourists levelled the series.
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