Cricket Australia director and former batsman Mark Taylor has suggested that picking Ben Stokes for the Ashes might be difficult for the England and Wales Cricket Board because of the video of his brawl. The video shows him, or someone closely resembling him, throwing multiple punches at two men outside a pub,
“I think it’s going to be very difficult for the ECB to send Stokes to Australia,” Taylor told Channel Nine. “Having said that I’m not going to be too judgmental on Stokes because I don’t know the events of the night. I have no doubt that there was probably a lot of hassling going on at the time. But I think the video evidence that we’ve all seen is going to make it very difficult for the English side to pick him.”
Although Stokes was included in the England squad a day after his arrest, he was subsequently dropped and the ECB said in a statement that he won’t be selected until the conclusion of an ongoing police investigation. Taylor said that he is not judging whether Stokes was guilty or not but said that the all-rounder can “remove” himself from a situation such as this in the future.
“I’ve always thought it takes two to tango but when you’re any person you can’t deal with it that way,” Taylor said, “Particularly when you’re in the public eye, you’re in a no-win situation there. All you can really do in that situation is get out of there. Remove yourself from the situation. I think that’s what he has to do in the future and that’s what I would be telling him if I were his captain, coach, father, whoever.”
Stokes’ potential exclusion from the England squad has prompted many to declare that they have lost any chance they had to win the Ashes. “He does bring something to England that Australia don’t have at the moment, that genuine allrounder at No. 6,” Taylor said, “I remember him making a hundred in Perth four years ago. I think he showed us then what he can do in this country and in recent times we’ve seen him take some very useful wickets. He’s one of those guys that can change a Test match with the bat or the ball and they are rare characters.”