Without Stokes, England will look like ‘kittens’ – Viv Richards

With less than two weeks before the start of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Sir Viv Richards believes that the current England side will look like ‘kittens’ in front of the home side in the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes.

“I’m a fan of Ben Stokes,” Richards told the BBC.

“England do need that all-rounder with a little bit of heart, also stomach into the game as well, solid physically, and I think you’re going to need all this stuff ‘Down Under’. The Aussies, in my opinion, they bring it. Having someone like Stokes, who’s pretty strong in himself about how he feels, the confidence he brings, is going to be crucial Down Under.

In the horrible 2013-14 Ashes tour, Stokes was one of the stronger performers for the England side, scoring 279 runs at 34.87 and chipping in with 15 wickets after being recalled to the national side.

“I know it’s going to be touch and go whether he’s going to play in the Ashes this time around, but without Ben Stokes Down Under, the English team is going to look like kittens.”

A video published by The Sun showed a person (allegedly Stokes) getting into a brawl with two men on the street, with another man (allegedly Alex Hales) also a part of altercation. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended both players post the emergence of the incident.

Along with a police investigation which will determine whether charges will be pressed against all-rounder, ECB will complete its own inquiry into Stokes’ behaviour before deciding whether he can play any part in the Ashes series.

“What happened was wrong, there’s no question about that,” said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. “You don’t want to see your sport in that position and there are consequences of that. We’re in a holding pattern at the minute.

“There’s a process with the police and then a disciplinary process. As you’ll appreciate, these things take time and that’s the pattern we’re in at the moment.”
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