Vaughan fears for Eng­land if all-rounder is axed

Daily Mirror - - SPORTS - BY DEAN WIL­SON Cricket Cor­re­spon­dent

ASHES-WIN­NING skip­per Michael Vaughan has writ­ten off Eng­land’s chances of suc­cess Down Un­der – if they are with­out Ben Stokes.

The key all-rounder is fac­ing an anx­ious wait to find out whether he will be charged over the night club fra­cas, and what pun­ish­ment may lay in store once Eng­land’s di­rec­tor of cricket An­drew Strauss com­pletes his own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the night out.

The best case sce­nario for Stokes is that he gets to travel to Aus­tralia with his bro­ken fin­ger and is fit enough to start the se­ries in Bris­bane on Novem­ber 23. But that is far from guar­an­teed. “I don’t think Eng­land can win in Aus­tralia with­out Ben Stokes,” said Vaughan (above), who skip­pered his coun­try to suc­cess in the leg­endary 2005 Ashes se­ries.

“Be­cause of the way he plays, I don’t think Eng­land can com­pete strongly with­out Ben Stokes.

“I think Aus­tralia are fear­ful of Cook, Root, An­der­son, but the big­gest fear Aus­tralia have is Ben Stokes, and if he’s not on that plane who knows what is go­ing to hap­pen? His hand could be an is­sue, as well as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“One thing is for sure, I don’t give Eng­land any chance in Aus­tralia with­out Ben Stokes.”

Aus­tralia are play­ing a one-day se­ries in In­dia and are yet to re­act to the news around Stokes while their pa­pers have la­belled Strauss’ lack of ac­tion thus far as the ‘soft­op­tion’ when com­pared to how Aus­tralia dealt with David Warner when he punched Joe Root.

For­mer player Michael Slater and cur­rent spin­ner Steve O’Keefe have in­stead fo­cused on the po­ten­tial blow that Eng­land would face if Stokes were to miss the Ashes ow­ing to this episode.

“I cer­tainly hope he’s play­ing for Eng­land be­cause I think he’ll play well out here,” said Slater. “I’d like to see him do a job for Eng­land just be­cause it’ll be com­pet­i­tive.”

O’Keefe added: “Stokes is the best all-rounder in the world and right now he is prob­a­bly in the best form of his ca­reer.

“So an Eng­land side with­out Ben Stokes is not a bet­ter side.”

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