POMS RALLY AT BEN’S WED­DING

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

JIMMY An­der­son has re­vealed how Eng­land team­mates will use Ben Stokes’s wed­ding as a chance to rally be­hind the trou­bled star as the play­ing group seeks an ur­gent res­o­lu­tion to the as­sault saga threat­en­ing to de­rail their Ashes cam­paign.

The Eng­land fast bowl­ing leader ad­mits Stokes ( pic­tured right with An­der­son) needs the sup­port of those clos­est to him as he pre­pares to tie the knot with longterm part­ner Clare Rat­cliffe to­day. How­ever, de­spite their stoic loy­alty to the Eng­land vice- cap­tain, An­der­son has made it clear that the play­ing group would like the ECB to make a fi­nal call on Stokes and his Ashes avail­abil­ity as soon as pos­si­ble.

“I think the lads are get­ting around him. He’s get­ting mar­ried this week and there will be many of the boys there,” An­der­son said.

He said the two weeks un­til the team boarded the plane for Aus­tralia on Oc­to­ber 28 were crit­i­cal to Eng­land’s Ashes hopes, with a series of hon­esty ses­sions to de­ter­mine whether they use Stokes’s predica­ment as an ex­cuse or in­spi­ra­tion.

Stokes’s agent has said that his client will “make pub­lic his full ex­pla­na­tion and ev­i­dence” on the al­leged Bris­tol street fight that has plunged Eng­land cricket into cri­sis, but only when the time is right.

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