Ben Stokes © Getty Images
Ben Stokes © Getty Images

Ben Stokes and Alex Hales have left England cricket in an uncomfortable situation with their late-night brawls. The duo has been suspended from international cricket indefinitely until the investigations are on. Stokes was initially included in England’s 16-member squad for Ashes 2017-18. However, ECB changed their decision a day later when further revelations were unearthed about the incident. Moeen Ali had already come in open and was positive about England winning the Ashes with or without Stokes. However, former Australia batsman Greg Blewett feels that the result will be the other way round irrespective of Stokes’ presence. Blewett also cast doubt on Stokes’ chances of playing a full part in the series.

Blewett had struck a century on Test debut, during the 1994-95 Ashes. Speaking more about his opinion on the Stokes brawl, he told Reuters: “I’m sure they will (sanction him). They are having their internal investigation. It would be a shame if he’s not out here. It would be a shame if he doesn’t come out because he’s a bit of a draw card. He’s a world class all-rounder and will leave a massive hole in their team. But even if he was (to come), I think Australia are going to be too good at home anyway. With or without Ben Stokes I don’t see a different result but I think England would love to have him in their side.”

Recently, Sun had released the footage of the entire brawl. It shows a brawl between the player and two other people. However, the authenticity of the images has not been verified yet.

“I wouldn’t be over the moon, put it that way, because I did see the footage and it’s not great. I’m sure he’s got his side to the story which we haven’t necessarily heard yet. Yeah, you would be disappointed. I think they were only a couple of days away from the next ODI so I think any coach would be disappointed with that sort of behaviour,” opined Blewett.

ECB is keeping an eye on the players after the brawl. It has raised questions as to whether curfews should be enforced during series. Blewett is against such measures: “Generally, you’d say players these days are a hell of a lot more professional than what we used to be. These things don’t pop up all that often these days, but when they do, obviously you need to address it.”

With no Stokes, the pressure mounts on England, whose middle-order consists of the inexperienced James Vince and Dawid Malan. This could work in the favour of Australia, feels Blewett: “Two or three of those guys in the squad haven’t had a great start to their careers. It’s not going to get any easier when they come out here. And it’s looking like Australia are going to be full strength with their bowling attack so (they) are going to be up against it.”