David Warner and Ben Stokes during Ashes    Getty Images
David Warner and Ben Stokes during Ashes Getty Images

The Ben Stokes incident has been discussed and debated by several cricketers. Many have even given their verdict on whether Stokes should board the Ashes plane. After Stokes late night brawl was ridiculed by former greats Nasser Hussain, Michael Vaughan and likes, it was time to ask the Australian players on their thoughts regarding the incident. They surprisingly haven’t spoken much on the issue.

When the Ben Stokes saga began a month ago, Australian players were busy moving from Bangladesh to India for the limited-overs series. When Smith was finally asked about the incident and his opinion on whether Stokes should play the Ashes, Smith chose his words wisely.

Smith watched the alleged video of his Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) teammate and condemned the behaviour. He did not want any of his teammates to get caught in similar action. Upon asked whether Stokes should play the Ashes, Smith added, Whether he comes or not, that’s out of our control. You always want to come up against the best and test your skills against the best.

The Ashes 2017-18: Ben Stokes' arrival not in Australia's control, says Steven Smith
The Ashes 2017-18: Ben Stokes' arrival not in Australia's control, says Steven Smith

David Warner and 2013

Let s rewind to 2013 when David Warner punched England skipper Joe Root. The incident happened at 2 am in the Walkabout bar, an Australian themed bar, in Birmingham. The players were drinking after England s win over Australia in Champions Trophy. The incident broke out on Root trying to impersonate Hashim Amla. Root had moved the green and gold coloured wig from his head to his chin.

It has been vehemently denied by England officials, who insist Root was poking fun at himself over jibes from teammates that he is too young to grow facial hair.

Warner threw a punch at Root in the VIP area of the bar. A sloshed Warner lost control and was later suspended from Australia s 2013 Ashes warm-up matches as well as the first two Tests of that series by Cricket Australia s (CA) head James Sutherland.

That was not all. Warner even let out a public apology in London. The saga continued when Mickey Arthur was removed as head coach and Darren Lehmann was crowned the next.

However, the amount of police investigations that is taking place in Stokes incident, there were none then. Warner returned as a key player in the comeback series.

David Warner s take on Ben Stokes street-brawl:

However, the present story is way different. It is most of the time his bat that does the talking these days. Today, Warner is the vice-captain across formats to Smith.

Upon knowing the Stokes incident, Warner opines his transgression was less than what he saw on the Stokes footage.

It (David Warner) was a lot less than what we’ve seen on that (Ben Stokes) footage

Learning from his captain, Warner too chose his words wisely while speaking to ESPNcricinfo, It was a lot less than what we’ve seen on that footage, that’s for sure. It’s up to them what they want to do – how they punish him [Stokes] and first of all it’s up to the police. Obviously with their investigation findings, to see what happens there. I think everyone in the world is waiting to see what happens there and what the outcome is.

When asked about the comparison between his and Stokes incident, Warner is more curious to find the video footage of his incident, I had to deal with the situation that I was dealt with. Does Cricket Australia regret that or not? I don’t know. I just copped it on the chin and moved forward. One thing they didn’t have was video footage, I’d still like to know where that is.

Warner considers his incident as a turning point of his career. He has changed as an individual and there have been occasions where he also credits his kids and wife to make him a better person, Each individual has their ups and downs – and that was my turning point. For me it was one where I really turned the corner, knuckled down and worked my backside off to get where I was. I am fortunate enough that my wife came into my life at that time and really got me into a routine. What happened, happened, I dealt with the situation as it was dealt, copped it on the chin and moved on.

The Ashes 2017-18:

As for The Ashes 2017-18, Warner has already declared war and won t hold back against England.

I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure that when we’re out there, we’ve got a lot of energy and lot of buzz. Whether that’s being vocal or with my intent batting and in the field. When it comes to the Ashes, it’s a massive thing for us. Given what happened in India, given the IPL and county cricket. Everyone’s mates, we are mates, but sometimes you have to really try and work a way out to actually build some kind of – I used the word ‘hatred’ the other day. But some dislike, make things a little bit uncomfortable for blokes when they’re out there.

The first Test will be played at The Gabba on November 23 in Brisbane.