Steven Smith(L) and Ben Stokes (R) are RPS teammates     AFP
Steven Smith(L) and Ben Stokes (R) are RPS teammates AFP

Ahead of The Ashes 2017-18, former Australian and English cricketers have started getting involved in mind games already. Leading the discussion charts is Ben Stokes street-brawl and his impending unavailability for Australia tour. One of the vital figures in the upcoming series, Steven Smith has however downplayed the whole Stokes debate.

Speaking to ABC Grandstand, Smith said, 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. That s what Test cricket is all about. There s no doubt Ben Stokes is one of the best players around the world at the moment.

Both Smith and Stokes were teammates in the Indian Premier League 2017 (IPL) playing for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS).

Australian skipper took the safest approach to answering questions pertaining to Stokes street-brawl.

I certainly don’t condone that kind of behavior. Hopefully it never happens to one of our boys, Smith added.

The Ashes 2017-18 first Test will take place on November 23 at The Gabba, Brisbane, followed the inaugural day-night Ashes Test at Adelaide on December 2.

The third, fourth and fifth Test will be played at Perth, Melbourne and Sydney respectively.