NO STOKES, NO CHANCE
Vaughan fears for England if all-rounder is axed
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.”