Ashes 2017/18: Five reasons why England are missing Ben Stokes
The much-awaited Ashes series started on a bad note for England as they crashed to a ten-wicket loss at the Gabba in Brisbane. They competed very well on the first three days, however, a poor batting display in the 3rd innings along with some fiery bowling from the Aussies meant that England could only set a target of 170 which was always going to be below-par.
In the first Test, there was a notable absentee from England’s XI - Ben Stokes. The New Zealand-born all-rounder was suspended after being involved in a late-night brawl in Bristol.
He was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm but released with a police investigation ongoing. An ECB statement later read: "Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for England international matches until further notice."
The police investigation is still going on which means that until that’s completed, Stokes cannot be considered for selection.
Before getting suspended, Stokes (England’s vice-captain) was a key member of the side. And looking at the way things panned out in the first Test, it did look like England missed their premier all-rounder. Here, we look at five reasons why England are missing Stokes.
#1 Ability to fight fire with fire
There is no doubt that the Ashes is one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of the game. There is a lot of banter that goes on (both on and off the field). And Australia are a team who love to sledge their oppositions.
Hence, Stokes could’ve easily been England’s answer to Australia’s sledging because he is one player who doesn’t hesitate in giving it back. Right from his debut series (Ashes 2013/14 in Australia) where he faced off against Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin, Stokes has been involved in some mouth-watering battles.
His recent spats with Virat Kohli (2016 in India) and Kagiso Rabada (2017 at home) show that he isn’t one to shy away from a confrontation.