England all-rounder Ben Stokes was pictured smoking a cigarette with a bandaged hand at England team mate Jason Roy’s wedding. The Test vice captain, under fire for a late night brawl in Bristol, can be seen in an image that surfaced on Instagram. He has his back to the camera, is wearing a cap and holding a cigarette in his right arm. Stokes had been banned from playing cricket for England in any format until investigation into the brawl has come to a conclusion.
The ban potentially rules him out of the Ashes that start on November 23. The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that by not including Stokes in the squad that travels to Australia. Stokes’s absence is being touted as a death knell for England’s chances in the Ashes. While he has had incidents on and off the field, it remains a fact that England have been dependent on Stokes’ all-round abilities to win them matches in recent times. Stokes has been one of the few England players to have consistently dished put match-winning performances in all three formats of the game. DailyMail reports that the altercation had happened as Stokes was defending two gay men in the pub outside which the incident happened.
While both England and Australia have experienced fluctuating form of late in Test cricket, the former face the bigger challenge due to them being the travellers. Ace Australian pacer Mitchell Starc stated that he would have loved it if Stokes had come to Australia. “I guess I’d love if he was out here. I’d love for the Australian crowd to get stuck into him the way the Poms (English) get stuck into our blokes over there. Regardless of whether he’s here or not, I think the atmosphere is going to be great at all the grounds.”