Guess Who’s Back?

So Ben Stokes is joining up with the England squad after a five month exile. I would say he’s ready to jump into the fray … although mentioning the words ‘fray’, or more specifically ‘affray’, might be a little uncomfortable for some. After all, many will disagree with the ECB’s decision to include a player awaiting trial for such a serious offence.

Whether you welcome this news very much depends on one’s perspective of the original incident. Some will forever see Stokes as a thug – why he shaved his head before his court appearance boggles the mind – whereas others will see him as a noble vigilante. I guess we should let the courts decide which cap fits.

The big question now is when not-so-gentle Ben (allegedly) will make his comeback. The smart money is on the second ODI. He hasn’t played for a while so Bayliss will have to assess his form in the nets before reaching a decision.

Personally, I suspect Stokes won’t need much practice. He’s a very natural cricketer with both bat and ball, and he’s a big time player. I’d expect him to rise to the occasion even if he’s a little rusty.

The intriguing thing, however, is that England beat Australia comfortably without him. So which player is going to make way? It seems harsh to drop someone who has done well. Maybe Bayliss will make Stokes wait for his opportunity. It might even do him some good.

I would love to be a fly on the dressing room wall when Stokes walks back in for the first time. Will everyone be sympathetic or will some players give him the cold shoulder? I wonder what Joe Root makes of it all? On the surface Root and Stokes seem like good buddies, but there must be part of Joe that’s really unhappy with his mate.

That night in Bristol cost Root his vice-captain, a confidant, a star player, and an all-rounder capable of balancing the side. He must have felt more than a little let down when England were getting thrashed in the Ashes.

We keep hearing that the England players are a tightly knit group these day. Stokes’s return might just test that.

James Morgan

2018-02-14T12:09:43+00:00February 14th, 2018|Player Spotlight|12 Comments


  1. Chris February 14, 2018 at 12:45 pm - Reply
  2. AB February 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    I would hope they welcome him back with open arms, if they don’t want to receive a good kicking 😉

  3. Comte February 14, 2018 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I could barely believe the shots of Stokes outside the court in Bristol. He looked like a guy who had done a long stretch of porridge. The only thing missing was a star tattoo on his forehead. That anyone who does not wish to be regarded as a thug should go out of his way to look like one suggests to me that his experience thus far has not mellowed or matured him in any way, shape of form. If I were in charge he would be nowhere near the England team until his trial and a not guilty verdict.
    As to how his colleagues will receive him I don’t know. They’ll probably be lining up to kiss his rs.

  4. Nick February 14, 2018 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    From a purely Cricket point of view England have a tricky decision on which of Hales, Roy and Bairstow miss out at the top of the order after a 4-1 series win should Stokes just walk back in? Should he play as a bowler and bat at seven?

  5. Andy Cheese February 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    The only reason Stokes isn’t already doing a stretch in jail is because he is famous. Anybody else would be locked safely away by now.

    • Duggers February 14, 2018 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      TOTALLY WRONG MR CHEDDAR! I believe that a jury will find him not guilty of anything more than standing up for someone weaker than his assailant! He obviously refused a deal with the prosecutors and I wish him luck in proving his point! Anyone threatening someone else with a bottle deserves to be chinned!

    • Mark Eldridge February 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Well not quite. There is the small matter of being tried first.

  6. Duggers February 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    If the skipper wasn’t doing such a good job of skippering, he’d be the favourite to drop, but that ain’t gonna happen so Stokes is going to have to wait one match at least, but it puts a lot of extra pressure on the team!

  7. Doug February 14, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Why have the ECB decided that it is OK for him to play now a court date is announced, when they wouldn’t let him play at all during the Australian tour? It’s completely illogical.
    Not sure why he turned up at court looking like a a skinhead boot boy either.

  8. Marc Evans February 14, 2018 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    It’s merely another moral dilemma of when does the end justify the means. Personally I wouldn’t have him back until the whole case is settled. At the very least he continues to show no remorse and a poor sense of judgement, a bit like the ECB. He looked like something out of a tacky British gangster movie when he left court.
    If the target had been seriously assaulting the original victim there would have been some justification for his reaction, but I have not heard this was the case. It seemed more like a, ‘let’s get the bastard’ drink fuelled incident, not a spur of the moment thing. 2 wrongs don’t make a right, but I suppose it depends how you’re brought up. Either way it’s irrelevant to the letter of the law. As there was no threat to him mitigation seems a pointless plea. If his lawyers are advising him to plead innocent they most know something we don’t, as to the outsider it all looks pretty damming.

    • James Morgan February 15, 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Hi Mark. Yes it’s very hard for us to know (from the outside) what happened that night. The footage obtained by The Sun looked very damaging indeed but we haven’t heard the full story yet. I’m sure the courts will make the right decision. Stokes has said he’s glad it’s going to trial so he can make his version of events public. We’ll have to see what comes up! We shouldn’t prejudice anything here.

  9. Cricket-Now February 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    So is all the drama over? ECB shat the bed in the whole scenario and cost themselves the Ashes. Granted Stokes wouldn’t have won the Ashes single-handedly for England but it sure would’ve been better than the one-sided series we witnessed.

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