To those of us not intimate with the great game of cricket, mainly knowing that playing unfairly at an endeavour is often met with the admonition, “That’s not cricket,” can only shake our heads in wonder as the players are seemingly taking the game in a UFC-like direction.
The latest incident to come to our attention was a case of apparent fisticuffs in a British pub involved England co-captain and world-best all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The allegation is that Stokes took exception to something said or done by a member of the English proletariat during a late night encounter in the wee hours of the morning following a match with West Indies.
The outcome, which should serve as fair warning to you brawlers of the general public persuasion to avoid taking on cricket players when both of you are pissed, was that the pub patron suffered facial injuries that required medical treatment at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. As for Stokes, he hurt his hand, and along with teammate and Ashes hopeful Alex Hales, was arrested by the local Bobbies.
Both players have been stood down for England’s remaining ODI matches with West Indies and Stokes is almost certain to be dropped from the Ashes just hours before the ECB are set to name their Ashes squad.
After spending the night in the Bristol brig, Stokes was released without charge, but the police are conducting further investigations into the incident and hope to obtain some eyewitness accounts.
Hales went back to Bristol to provide some information with the police inquiry.
Stokes has a history of alcohol-fueled rage, the result being that the entire British team will be under intense scrutiny ahead of their first Ashes test at the Gabba.
England Cricket Board Chief Andrew Strauss released a statement, which read, in part, “Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be available for tomorrow’s One-Day International match against West Indies at The Oval… You will understand that we cannot offer further detail at this stage but will provide any updates when we can.”