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An Insider’s View

Ben Stokes’ nightclub incident

Ben Stokes New BalanceIn the early hours of Monday morning, hours after England had thrashed West Indies in the third one-day international, Ben Stokes was involved in what appears to be a belligerent incident outside a nightclub in Bristol. After being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, he was later released under investigation as inquiries continue. Furthermore, footage captured by a newspaper has been released showing a man, resembling Stokes, throwing punches towards two men who are subsequently knocked to the ground. The catalyst for the event is unknown, but the altercation appears to have transpired with one of the unknown men attempting to strike another man who was accompanying Stokes, believed to be Alex Hales.

Just weeks ago, Stokes had played a pivotal part in the series win against West Indies showing the supreme talent he possesses with both bat and ball, scoring 100 at Leeds and taking 6/22 at Lords. Soon after, comparison’s were being made between Stokes, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff with Flintoff admitting and believing that Stokes is the better all rounder when compared to himself. What is astounding and preposterous, in my opinion, is the headlines that I have seen this morning by various newspaper outlets stating that Ben Stokes could be facing the axe. I believe there is a tendency with the British media to elevate a player to a status beyond his ability when they are progressing through their career, in order to give them a platform to knock them off that pedestal with full force. If the example of Stokes and/or other big sportspeople are given, that rise can often be meteoric and mistakes are made.

The intriguing element about this incident is that there will always be a debate. Opinions will be divided on how Stokes should be dealt with, some will feel he should be dealt with harshly, others, not so much. Before making any decision however, there may be some considerations that need to be made. Firstly, this is not an isolated incident in sport, various other sports people have been violent and disorderly on nights out. Kyle Sinckler was arrested in Auckland following the Lions’ draw with the All Blacks. Manu Tuilagi missed the 2015 World Cup after assaulting two police offers during a row with a taxi driver. Due to the timing (after the tour) and nature of Sinckler’s arrest (it was deemed a minor incident) as well as the hostility of Tuilagi’s arrest, it is difficult to compare the incidents.

What also has to be considered is the ramifications, not only for Ben Stokes, but the England Cricket Team itself. Stokes adds an incredible balance to the side, like no other person in World Cricket. You are almost receiving two players in one giving England great depth. He has the potential to bowl you match winning, hostile spells with the ball, and then take the game away from the opposition in a single session with his destructive style of play. Losing a player of Ben Stokes’ calibre can really dent England’s hopes of retaining the Ashes down under. Whatever decision the ECB make, I hope Stokes makes the trip. Hopefully, it is just another harsh lesson on the road to greatness.

4 potential replacements for Stokes:

Liam Plunkett – Having impressed in one-day cricket for England over the past 12 months, could Plunkett transfer that form into the longer version of the game?

Liam Plunkett

Batting

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

High. Score

100

50

2

3

92

30.66

39

0

0

Bowling

Matches

Innings

Wickets

Average

Economy

5 wh

BBI

2

3

6

22.66

3.16

0

4/73

 

Craig Overton – If England needed a bowling replacement for Stokes, this would be the obvious one. Having the ability to bowl quickly as well as taking an impressive 46 wickets this season, he is the only player on this list to be featured in the current squad.

Craig Overton

Batting

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

High. Score

100

50

13

21

287

15.94

44*

0

0

 

Bowling

Matches

Innings

Wickets

Average

Economy

5 wh

BBI

13

24

46

22.39

2.75

2

5/47

 

 

Tom Curran – Definitely one for the future and that proves to be the case after continuous Lions squad involvements. Too early for test cricket?

Tom Curran?

    Batting

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

High. Score

100

50

9

11

287

27.44

53

0

1

  

Bowling

Matches

Innings

Wickets

Average

Economy

5 wh

BBI

9

12

24

34.66

3.24

0

4/69

 

 

Rikki Clarke – A highly experienced and skilful competitor, Clarke’s career has had a resurgence re-joining Surrey, notably, taking a career -best 7 for 55 against Somerset.

Rikki Clarke

Batting

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

High. Score

100

50

14

21

422

20.09

83

0

3

 

Bowling

Matches

Innings

Wickets

Average

Economy

5 wh

BBI

14

21

37

2.87

3.24

1

7/55

 

What disciplinary action should Ben Stokes face? Who would replace him? Let us know your thoughts..

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