‹ECB warns play­ers to up­hold cricket’s ‘val­ues’

Miss­ing Ashes tour was pun­ish­ment enough for Stokes, who re­alised he had to change his ways

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - MICHAEL VAUGHAN

The Eng­land and Wales Cricket board has made the right call on Ben Stokes. I be­lieve Ben served enough pun­ish­ment last win­ter. He missed the whole Ashes tour, which added up to 12 matches, and two Twenty20 games in New Zealand.

Since re­turn­ing to the side he has shown an un­der­stand­ing that he had to change his ways. He knew it was a ter­ri­ble look for the game. Deep in­side, he knows he let down a lot of peo­ple, but it is time to move on. He has been ex­em­plary in the way he has be­haved this year, set­ting an ex­am­ple to oth­ers with his com­mit­ment to the team.

Lis­ten to the way Trevor Bayliss spoke about him at the end of the Sri Lanka tour. He said: “Cer­tainly, I think he’s learnt a les­son. The way he’s con­ducted him­self since he has come back into the fold has been ex­em­plary.”

Ob­vi­ously, that is from a coach who wants one of his best play­ers avail­able, and I un­der­stand that, but Stokes is a full-hearted crick­eter, des­per­ate to get out there and play for his team. Bayliss has seen first hand how he has tried to make amends.

There were whis­pers be­fore the Bris­tol in­ci­dent that he had an is­sue with al­co­hol, but it sounds as though he has ma­tured and you have to give peo­ple a sec­ond chance in life.

What hap­pened in Bris­tol was aw­ful. I know he was cleared in court, but he knows he should not have put him­self in that po­si­tion, be­ing out in the street at 2.30am. Noth­ing good can hap­pen at that time of night and I said at the time the play­ers had to grow up and be smarter. By all means cel­e­brate a vic­tory, but al­ways be aware of your sur­round­ings and know when it is time to go home.

Cricket went through the mill be­cause of what hap­pened. The sport was on the front pages for the wrong rea­sons, which is why he is guilty of bring­ing the game into dis­re­pute.

As much as he will ar­gue he was found not guilty in court, the im­age for the Eng­land team was poor and all the play­ers, not just Stokes, had to learn from it by not putting them­selves in sit­u­a­tions they can­not control.

Peo­ple will say an ex­am­ple should be made of him. But is not miss­ing an Ashes tour enough? Go­ing to Aus­tralia is a mas­sive mo­ment in an Eng­land player’s ca­reer.

It was right he missed that se­ries and the ECB waited for the ex­act charge from the po­lice in Jan­uary be­fore pick­ing him again.

There was no way he could go to Aus­tralia with that hang­ing over his head, but now is not the time to ban him from more games. Let us all move on.

Er­ror of judg­ment: Ben Stokes (left) and Alex Hales out­side the Mbargo night­club in Bris­tol dur­ing the early hours in Septem­ber 2017

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