Ben Stokes ar­rives in Christchurch to hos­tile Aus­tralian me­dia re­cep­tion

The Guardian Australia - - Technology/Sport - Kate O'Hal­lo­ran

Aus­tralian pa­pers have piled into Ben Stokes as he ar­rives closer to – if not ac­tu­ally on – their shores.

The Eng­land all­rounder has flown to Christchurch in New Zealand to play with lo­cal club Can­ter­bury, some 3,000km east of his team-mates who are pre­par­ing for the se­cond Test in Adelaide. “Bad boy flies in,” was the headline on the front of the broad­sheet Aus­tralian, echoed in the Her­ald Sun and other News Corp sta­ble­mates. As he landed, the front of the Adelaide Ad­ver­tiser’s web­site said: “English cricket’s bad boy touches down in NZ.”

Peter Lalor, in the Aus­tralian, was not the only writer to say the move raised the prospect of Stokes play­ing in the next Test, in Perth.

“If the vis­i­tors are not in cri­sis they are do­ing a good im­pres­sion on an out­fit on the verge of one.”

Ben Horne of the Daily Tele­graph ar­gued that Stokes’ dash to New Zealand un­der­lined Eng­land’s blun­der­ing ap­proach to a se­lec­tion dilemma sparked when Stokes was ar­rested af­ter a late-night al­ter­ca­tion out­side a night­club in Bris­tol two months ago.

“Eng­land’s han­dling of the as­sault drama has been an un­mit­i­gated disas­ter”. Horne also drew at­ten­tion to po­ten­tial dis­cord in the English camp. “Team supremo Andrew Strauss is the man who should be un­der the gun. Strauss fronted the me­dia in Bris­bane on Mon­day and asked for an up­date on Stokes, said there was noth­ing on of­fer. Barely 12 hours on and Stokes was es­cap­ing Lon­don … his brazen flight to New Zealand says that Eng­land cricket stands for noth­ing.”

As the Guardian re­ported, the 26-year-old was is­sued with a “noob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate” last Fri­day by Strauss.

News Corp also in­ter­viewed Matt Cronin, the fa­ther of a Mel­bourne teenager Patrick Cronin who died af­ter he was punched in the head help­ing friends in a fight. In it, Cronin ar­gued that Stokes should not be granted a visa for en­try into Aus­tralia. Un­der Aus­tralian law, visas

can be re­fused or can­celled if a per­son does not pass the char­ac­ter test set by the Im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter.

In the Age and Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, Andrew Wu said Eng­land’s off-field is­sues – in­clud­ing Jonny Bairstow’s “head-butt” of Cameron Ban­croft that has led to re­ports of a cur­few – had di­verted at­ten­tion away from the Adelaide Test, which pre­sented their best chance of fight­ing back in the se­ries.

On the ABC, Cather­ine McGregor was doubt­ful Eng­land could over­come the weight of his­tory to re­cover from their Bris­bane ca­pit­u­la­tion and off-field is­sues. Posed in the rhetor­i­cal, she asked if Eng­land could re­gain re­spectabil­ity, be­fore con­clud­ing “this is not a great Eng­land side”.

Much of the com­men­tary on Stokes and Bairstow in the Aus­tralian pa­pers is glee­fully syn­di­cated from Bri­tish sports pages. Michael Vaughan, writ­ing for the UK Daily Tele­graph but fea­tured in the Fair­fax pa­pers, said the Bairstow in­ci­dent had merely re­in­forced their “lad­dish, drink­ing-cul­ture im­age,”, and con­firmed that the play­ers had not learnt from the Stokes in­ci­dent. Michael Ather­ton’s writ­ing in the Times, also on the Aus­tralian’s web­site, says “no­body wanted cur­fews, not Strauss, not [coach] Trevor Bayliss, nor the play­ers, so it is a mea­sure of the man­age­ment’s frus­tra­tion”. He added that Strauss was a man who likes thing to be in or­der” and that the drama of the se­ries so far must be “ir­ri­tat­ing him no end”.

Ben Stokes has touched down in Christchurch to head­lines such as ‘bad boy flies in’. Pho­to­graph: Kai Sch­wo­erer/Getty Images

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.