How did England get to this point?

Joe MacDougall Roar Rookie

By Joe MacDougall, Joe MacDougall is a Roar Rookie

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    My phone beeps. A news alert flashes up on the screen: “England confirm Ben Stokes will not travel to Australia with the rest of the Ashes squad as it stands”.

    How did we get to this point? I mean, I know how we got to this point, every Brit or Aussie with a smart phone has seen the bloody video by now, and I dare say half of India too.

    But how did England get to the point where they will travel to the most high-profile series of all without their star man?

    Saying Stokes won’t travel Down Under “as it stands” is vague even by ECB standards, but realistically unless he can prove he knocked out the ex-soldier in Bristol last Sunday because he had access to Kim Jong-Il’s nuclear codes I think it’s safe to assume England’s fiery all-rounder will not feature in the Ashes.

    Michael Vaughan said earlier this week that most of the press box at Old Trafford were aware Stokes had been out until 3am on one of the nights during the Test match in early August.

    With such behaviour going unpunished, how long did the England management team think it would take for some sort of damaging story to appear in the tabloids? Does Trevor Bayliss know anything about English tabloids?

    While the architects of cricket’s most famous expose – News of the World – have disappeared, the remaining red-top journalists are no less ready to pounce on a juicy story than they’ve ever been.

    Although the Old Trafford story was successfully swept under the carpet by the ECB miraculously convincing the press not to report it, Strauss, Bayliss and co can’t say they weren’t warned (strangely Vaughan hasn’t been pressed for more detail about how the press were convinced to keep quiet).

    You would think that selecting a vice-captain who’s so capable of falling into their claws would be something of a no-no.

    There’s no doubt the old adage “if you treat ‘em like kids, they’ll act like kids” is true across most professional sports teams. Mark Butcher has come out (since the Stokes incident) in defence of the current management ethos of not enforcing curfews and other similar schoolteacher-esque techniques upon their players.

    He was part of the setup that were forced to follow a strict code of conduct in the early 2000s, with limited success and not an insignificant amount rebellious rule-breaking. He, most of his fellow players and eventually the managers too, concluded that in practice it doesn’t really work.

    Ben Stokes holds up the ball and grins after taking his sixth wicket

    (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

    But clearly England’s current system needs changing.

    The England rugby team that won the World Cup in 2003 revolutionised their sport through how they acted off the pitch.

    Precious few stories emerged of them misbehaving out of hours, particularly when on international duty. Every playing member of Clive Woodward’s squad were entirely bought in to the set of values and ethics expected of them as professional athletes, and any actions outside of this were seen as letting the group down and dealt with accordingly.

    Why were they all so bought in? Because the players themselves came up with the rule book. It was up to the players to discuss and agree a moral code that they felt would be appropriate for a team trying to achieve number one in the world status.

    All of their conclusions were then put together in a leather bound ‘black book’ and any breaches of the code were referred back to the black book, and all penalties that resulted were borne out of it’s framework.

    It was an exceptionally clever ploy from Woodward to put his players in charge of their own disciplinary measures.

    The team identity became part of the players’ DNA and breaking the code felt worse to them than letting down their manager…they were letting down their teammate s – something every professional sportsman dreads.

    There were no arguments as to whether you had broken the rules or not, because the author of the rulebook, was you.

    Ben Stokes is the ultimate team man. He has the rare ability to lift his whole team with only a couple of deliveries or batting strokes and his fiery nature means people naturally rally round him, lifting their intensity just to keep up.

    He also desperately wants to perform for England, and loves doing so. If Stokes was part of a setup where the players owned the code of conduct off the pitch, and a breach of this meant not only letting his teammates down, but them delivering the punishment, he might just smarten up his act.

    Whatever happens with the ongoing police investigation, it certainly seems as though Stokes will not play in the Ashes.

    He will return one day. When he does England must try to find a way to resurrect him as the incredible performer he is while maintaining a professionalism away from the field of play that’s appropriate to his status as one of the game’s biggest names and highest earners.

    Forcing Stokes and the rest of the England playing staff to take full ownership of their own ethos might be the best way to achieve it.

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    The Crowd Says (58)

    • October 9th 2017 @ 8:37am
      jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      “values and ethics expected of them as professional athletes”

      This is the thing. A lot of pro sportsmen want to be paid like a pro but act off the field like an amateur.

      Ask yourself this – would Sally Pearson, or Mo Farah, be going out on the p*** 2 days before an Olympic final?

      If those guys (and at least Sally is paid a lot less) can act like pros, why can’t cricketers and footballers? hat’s the difference?

      Based on that late night drinking session during a test, England have clearly brought this on themselves and their management only have themselves to blame.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 11:23am
        The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        What’s the difference?

        Well Sally’s a girl. Just that alone means she’s almost certainly going to have less ego, less arrogance and more maturity than almost every professional male athlete in Australia.

        Mo Farah – well he was born in Somalia. Odds are he’s just grateful for the life he’s been able to have. Again, I suspect he doesn’t have anything like the ego, arrogance and sense of entitlement that a guy like Stokes (or most Australian male athletes too) has. I bet Farah doesn’t drink either, being a devout Muslin. That’d be a good start for most male athletes (in Australia anyway).

        • October 9th 2017 @ 1:42pm
          jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          You get my point though Bushie. Why can cricketers and footballers who want to be pro act like amateurs?

          Why shouldn’t they be held to the same standards of athletes who look after themselves? Substitute in Steve Solomon our 400 runner, or Thorpie at his peak. It’s all the same.

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 2:28pm
            The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            Actually jameswm, I usually agree with you, but I don’t on this occasion.

            Putting aside all the women, as women are simply better behaved then men, I don’t see cricketers and footballers as being any different to other athletes in this country.

            You’ve randomly picked Thorpie as another example. But I can just go and pick out Waugh or Steve Smith as examples of champion cricketers that keep their noses clean – every sport has the good apples. Regarding the rest of our swim team, again only males, you’d have to say they’re a disgrace. A few years back one of them committed GBH to a fellow swimmer and only avoided jail because of his fame. The entire team admitted to mixing sleeping pills with drinks or something to get high at an Olympics. They are, in all honesty, a disgrace.

            What about tennis? Yeah this current mob are “great blokes”.

            Fact is, you mix a sense of entitlement with youth, money and fame and mix it all together. This is what you get.

            The interesting word in all this is the word “professional”. I actually work in a profession (as opposed to a job). I did an entire subject called ethics at university. There are literally codes of conduct that regulate my behaviour not just at work, but in all aspects of my life. If I breach these seriously, my entire career – forever – is gone.

            Just because these guys are paid to play sport doesn’t make them “professional”. It makes them mercenaries.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 5:30pm
              jameswm said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

              That was during a training camp, not in the leadup to the Olympics Bushie.

              But point taken – I intended to steer clear of the swimmers – they live in a bubble a bit too.

        • October 11th 2017 @ 11:38am
          Perthstayer said | October 11th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          The Bush

          “..he was born in Somalia. Odds are he’s just grateful for the life he’s been able to have.”

          A true definition of casual racism.

          • Roar Guru

            October 11th 2017 @ 5:50pm
            Pom in Oz said | October 11th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

            Try doing a little research. Somalia has 73% poverty and is among the world’s poorest nations. Not racist, just some speculation based on fact.

            “A true definition of casual racism.” Political correctness BS…

    • October 9th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Ouch said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      How did it get to this? Pretty easy to determine if you look at his rap sheet. He’s been acting like an idiot for a long time and because he is such a valuable player for England, the ECB has been turning a blind eye to it. Instead they made him vice-captain.
      Either that, or he just isn’t intelligent enough to understand there are consequences to his actions.

    • October 9th 2017 @ 10:39am
      Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      You say “Ben Stokes is the ultimate team man”. Sorry Joe, but you have this badly wrong.

      This is not the first time Mr Team Man has been involved in incidents involving alcohol and he was clearly NOT thinking about his team mates on any of these occasions. In this latest altercation, at what point did this guy stop and say, “if I continue with my actions, this will have repercussions for my team and my team mates”?

      If Stokes misses the Ashes Tour as expected and the English side loses, if I’m an English player, I would not ant this guy in my team, regardless how talented he is. How can I know whether he is going to do something similar in the future?

      You suggest allowing a habitual rule breaker the liberty of having a say in the rules that govern player behaviour. These are the SAME rules every day workers have in place, either because they’re enforced or otherwise – you must be prepared, at the start of the day and throughout the day, too represent your employer to be best of your ability. This means, amongst other things, being straight and sober.

      Stokes doesn’t need to be involved in any rules making, he simply needs to understand what the rest of us mere mortals have to do on a daily basis – be ready to give our best for the mob who pays us. Right now, he hasn’t got a clue what this means, unless of course, he can magically be sober for an 11am for a game or practice after being on the soup at 3 o’clock in the morning.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 9th 2017 @ 9:18pm
        Joe MacDougall said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

        HI Paul,
        My reference to Stokes being the ultimate team-man was referring to his actions ON the field (my bad, didn’t make it clear perhaps).
        When he’s playing you can tell he’s a hugely positive influence on the rest of the team – loves supporting his bowlers, always bigging up good fielding by his team-mates, lots of noise in the field etc.
        Clearly his behaviour off the pitch is not – he’s obviously let his team down massively.
        So, my point is that because he actually loves being part of a team so much, perhaps if the playing staff were given control of their rules and regs, MAYBE it might work for him as it would feel more like letting your teammates down rather than just breaking a management rule.
        It’s a psychological thing I guess, and one that should not have to be considered (he simply shouldn’t be out on the beers that late during an ODI series), but seeing as he clearly needs some sort of management, it might work.

    • Roar Rookie

      October 9th 2017 @ 10:51am
      Matthew Pearce said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      It’s a little ridiculous. These people are adults, no? Maybe they should start acting their age.

      Ditto for the ECB if they covered incidences up.

    • Roar Guru

      October 9th 2017 @ 11:17am
      The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      Funny thing is, I didn’t even think Stokes was that important to their team. The amount of fuss over this reminded me of media blow ups involving Watto. So I went and had a look at Stokes’ stats. He’s got an identical record too.

      When you’re Shane Warne, people will forgive this stuff. When you’re mediocre, well…

      • October 9th 2017 @ 11:40am
        Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

        Th whole England side is mediocre TB, bar Root and Cook. The bowlers are averaging in the mid to high 30’s in Australia and the Stokes, Woakes Ali combination are all about the same with bat and ball in terms of averages.

        In saying that, after seeing what Stokes did to that guy, even Warney would struggle to get off. If it was you or me, we’d be in gaol, I reckon. It’ll be interesting to see what defence he comes up with.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 12:24pm
          The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          These things do depend, I don’t know enough about Stokes. I know he’s a bit of a kno8, but does he have a criminal record? I doubt too many clean skins would go to jail for that, but it does depend on the injuries he’s inflected. Certainly if you avoided jail, you’d use up every last ounce of the courts good will to stay out of jail (mandatory counselling, community service, good behaviour, suspended sentence etc).

          You’d say that Warnie would struggle to get off if he did this, but I see he had his own troubles the other day for alleged violence. No camera’s on him though…

        • October 9th 2017 @ 2:12pm
          Mike Dugg said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          If England are mediocre, what do you call the Aussie side? I think they’re both pretty even

          • Roar Guru

            October 9th 2017 @ 2:31pm
            The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            If England are mediocre, what do you call the Aussie side?

            Mediocre.

            • October 9th 2017 @ 3:44pm
              Paul said | October 9th 2017 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

              Let’s see, best batsman in the world (Smith), Warner (5th best batsman), Hazlewood (number 6 best bowler), Lyons (number 8), with Khawaja, Handscomb and Starc all rating highly. Nothing mediocre about these guys individually, they do however need to put it together as a team. Give us a decent number 6 and keeper and we should be able to take on any side in world cricket

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 5:17pm
                The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                We’re literally ranked 5th out of 10 teams in Test Cricket right now. We just drew a series with Bangladesh. If this isn’t a “mediocre” team – i.e. a very “average” – then I don’t think people know what the word means.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 9th 2017 @ 6:41pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 9th 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                I hope you weren’t one of the people who couldn’t stop singing the praises of the team after the India tour – funny how quickly attitudes change.

              • Roar Guru

                October 9th 2017 @ 9:12pm
                The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

                Was that directed to me?

                We did play fantastically in India. Mediocre teams have good and bad series… that’s why they’re mediocre and not good OR bad…

              • Roar Rookie

                October 9th 2017 @ 10:46pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:46pm | ! Report

                So, Australia goes over to conditions that couldn’t be any more alien to them if they played on Mars, plays their first proper match in six months and loses by a whopping 20 runs, then dominates the second test right through to a 7-wicket win, and you think that qualifies as “mediocre”?

                What was so bad about the first test? Why do so many Aussie fans arrogantly assume that we should absolutely win every game we play, simply because we’re Australia? Newsflash: sometimes Australia loses. Sometimes the opposition plays better, and deserves congratulations.

                No “well done Bangladesh for winning” here though, just “Australia was bad, and one bad and one good series makes them mediocre”.

                Curious: how many more series does Australia need to win before they no longer qualify as “mediocre”?

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 11:30am
                The Bush said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                Matthew,

                Where did I say Bangladesh didn’t play well? Of course they did. That’s how we lost.

                Australia lost to Bangladesh, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka in the last twelve months, only beating Pakistan since our away win in New Zealand.

                So we lost at home and three away. How is that not a mediocre team?

                How many do we need to win before we’re not mediocre?

                Well, more than half would be a good start. Perhaps an away series in somewhere that isn’t either South Africa or a weak team (NZD or WI). We’ve lost the following away the last time we were there:

                1. Bangladesh
                2. India
                3. Sri Lanka
                4. England
                5. Pakistan

                When we’ve racked up an away win against a half decent opposition (that isn’t South Africa, the most like our conditions anywhere), we can start talking about this team as being above mediocre.

                Again, I don’t think people understand the meaning of the word. It is a synonym for average. How are we not an average team? Please provide the evidence.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 10th 2017 @ 1:31pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 10th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                “Where did I say Bangladesh didn’t play well?” Probably shouldn’t have said “We just drew a series with Bangladesh” as evidence for how mediocre we are if you weren’t intending to disparage them.

                We’ve lost those away series, yes, but conveniently four of those series happened to be played on foreign conditions. Maybe you should compare our overseas records in the subcontinent to other pace-dominant countries such as England or South Africa. How have those teams gone in the subcontinent?

                In fact, you could check the away records of every test team over the past ten years. Australia is currently the second highest performing team away from home, and only them and South Africa have won more than half of their matches compared to their losses. So when you say our overseas record is mediocre, who are you making that comparison with?

                Why does South Africa not count as a good away win? You say our performances against “weak” teams don’t count, but other teams didn’t do half as well against them as we did. England drew with WI, India lost to NZ in their last tours, for example. Also, you do realise we drew the series with Bangladesh, yeah? Stop using that series to skew your data on our “lost” tours.

                I could easily counter that list by pointing out that every team apart from South Africa has lost the last time they toured us. Are they also mediocre?

                You seem to be using “average” in a mathematical context, i.e. “one good and one bad middles out to average”. Why is that the automatic case? You say mediocre teams have good or bad series, that’s why they’re mediocre. Why is not that sometimes a good team has a bad series, or a bad team can have a good series?

                Provide evidence for not being mediocre? Well, your usage of mediocre for one, the comparative away records of every other test playing nation, and also that, apart from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, our recent away losses have been close, hard-fought affairs. If that’s mediocre, I guess we really won’t be good until we’re absolutely unbeatable just like the “good” old days when the international competition was non-existent.

              • October 10th 2017 @ 10:10pm
                Matt said | October 10th 2017 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

                Matthew pearce. Firstly the conditions should not be so alien to australia now where practically they play 2months of ipl in india every year now and still getting smashed in india.
                Secondly bangladesh is a 9th ranked team only above zimbabwe. So loosing to them is mediocre by any stretch of imagination.
                Thirdly you cant deny srilanka and pakistan are at there weakest in long long time. You cant even name 5 names you think will play in next test mtch.
                So loosing to them in the manner australia has been is plain mediocre. Please get off the high horse and see the ground reality..

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 4:16pm
                The Bush said | October 10th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Matthew,

                Probably shouldn’t have said “We just drew a series with Bangladesh” as evidence for how mediocre

                I don’t know how to make this any clearer. We just drew a series with one of the lowest ranked teams in test cricket. How is that not the definition of mediocre? Just because every other team might be doing it lately, doesn’t mean they aren’t all “mediocre” as well.

                but conveniently four of those series happened to be played on foreign conditions. Maybe you should compare our overseas records in the subcontinent to other pace-dominant countries such as England or South Africa. How have those teams gone in the subcontinent?

                Three have been played on foreign conditions. We managed to lose to South Africa at home…

                England? Well they’ve won more recently in India than us. So I suppose you’d say “better”? South Africa were the most recent team to be better than mediocre (what you might call “good”), so I’d say their away record has been, probably, fantastic. Not sure, can’t be bothered checking.

                You seem to be using “average” in a mathematical context, i.e. “one good and one bad middles out to average”. Why is that the automatic case? You say mediocre teams have good or bad series, that’s why they’re mediocre. Why is not that sometimes a good team has a bad series, or a bad team can have a good series?

                I can’t work out if you’re being serious here. So you say we’re actually a “good” team, we’ve just had “bad” results four out of the last five? Okay, sure, I concede, this is actually a good side, you’ve convinced me.

                I could easily counter that list by pointing out that every team apart from South Africa has lost the last time they toured us. Are they also mediocre?

                Yes, those teams have been mediocre as well. Other than South Africa (who have been consistently good for years).

                If that’s mediocre, I guess we really won’t be good until we’re absolutely unbeatable just like the “good” old days when the international competition was non-existent.

                International competition was non-existent? I don’t think so. But in any event, yes, we will not be more than mediocre until we’re “good” and win consistently. The last “good” side was South Africa, because they won frequently.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 10th 2017 @ 5:47pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 10th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

                Over the past four years, only Sri Lanka and Pakistan have won test series in Bangladesh, and they were both 1-0 margins in 2 test series. Every other touring team in that time period, including the oh-so-mighty South Africa and India, have only managed drawn series. If you think Bangladesh were supposed to be easy beats, you have a bit of catching up to do.

                We always lose to South Africa at home, the most recent series wasn’t an anomaly by any stretch of the means.

                England’s last series in India was also a complete drubbing more embarrassing than our 2013 tour, and South Africa were also embarrassed in their last tour of India. As has every team to tour India, until Australia’s most recent tour. Sounds like we’ve been doing better than everyone else to me.

                You want to talk about ridiculousness? You’re fixating your definitions of good or bad (sorry, “mediocre” and “better than mediocre”) on overall series results, and nothing but that.

                Say a team has 7 tours in a year. They lose 4, all by the margin of 2-1. They win their remaining 3 by 3-0 each. That’s a win-loss record of 13-8, but according to your criteria, that’d be “mediocre” because they lost more series than they won.

                “Yes, these teams have been mediocre”. What, the no. 1 and 3 test teams are mediocre? Besides, you were wrong about the rankings, Australia are currently fourth.

                “Bad results for four out of their five series”? So, a draw in Bangladesh (no worse than any other team has done in years), a close series in India that we were supposed to lose 4-0, and a 2-1 loss to South Africa (who always beat us at home and are the best team by your own admission) count as “bad” results? Seems like you have a pretty skewed view of how Australia should perform.

                Every team consistently loses away from home. Because the conditions aren’t as familiar and the host team has the initial advantage. Even South Africa lost badly to India and England recently. Stop fixating on overall series results and start focusing more on how well Australia played in those series. Again, you’ll find that, bar the Sri Lanka and Pakistan whitewashes, none of the series losses or “bad” performances you mention were poorly performed. Australia was simply outplayed. That happens sometimes. It doesn’t mean they performed poorly, it’s entirely possible to play well and still be outperformed.

                Maybe you should adjust your definitions, because right now, according to you, the only way a team can be good is if they manage to do something very few teams have managed to do in the history of cricket. Only three countries, over their entire time playing test cricket, have managed to maintain a positive win/loss ratio. Guess who’s the highest? Australia, and by a massive margin too.

                The days of a few teams bullying around everyone else and winning all the time regardless of who and where they played being the norm are over. The international competition is stronger than it’s ever been, and cricket is better for it. I don’t like it when Australia loses, but sometimes it happens and it doesn’t make them “bad” or “mediocre”. Get over yourself.

              • Roar Guru

                October 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm
                The Bush said | October 10th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

                Matthew,

                As we don’t agree on what mediocre means – i.e. an average team, as evidenced by the fact that we’re ranked in the middle of the rankings, I can’t see how we’ll ever agree. As we’re not ranked towards the top and we haven’t won much lately, I simply cannot agree we’re good, so we’re never going to agree.

                You say we’re good, I say we’re mediocre and that’s that.

                Nice debate, good fun.

              • Roar Rookie

                October 10th 2017 @ 7:21pm
                Matthew Pearce said | October 10th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

                You’re right, we’re not going to convince one another.

                Would you, however, suggest that if the top four teams were all far and away above everyone else, but could only narrowly be split between each other, that the fourth team is “mediocre”, just because they’re “in the middle”, as you say? Pretty narrow thought process.

                I understand the results haven’t gone our way, and it’s annoying to watch us lose, but it’s more complicated than “we lost, therefore we’re not good”.

                Ditto, nice debate.

              • October 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm
                Andrew said | October 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

                I’d prefer to say that Australia’s batting is what has made the team look mediocre especially the middle. I think the bowling primarily and a few odd innings from a select few batsmen is the only thing that has kept Australia off being poor. Mind you not having Starc also makes a big difference and could easily have given Australia better results. Fix batting positions 6 and 7 would go along way to climbing up the rankings.

              • Roar Guru

                October 11th 2017 @ 9:17pm
                Cadfael said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

                Matthew Pearce, the side copped a roasting fir the drawb series as poor selections (again) didn’t help the cause. We lost the first test by 20 runs, Wade conceded 34 byes in the game but was picked for the next game.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 6:55am
                Andrew said | October 12th 2017 @ 6:55am | ! Report

                Maxwell and Wade are the weakest links in the team and have been really poor. I think the top 5 at some point have had some runs in there. Smith admitted that he has had a bad series in India but he has got credit in the bank. Our bowling in the test’s have been very good with Lyon and Cummins doing most of the damage. So to fix the problem and get Australia back winning, 6, 7 need to be replaced.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 2:08pm
        Mike Dugg said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        You’re joking aren’t you? Stokes along with Ali have gotten England out of many bad situations over the past coulple of years. They are both very important to that team
        Australia would love to have an all rounder the quality of Stokes.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 2:33pm
          The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

          I didn’t mention Ali.

          Fair play to England if they’re important. Like I said, I didn’t really know. Whenever I read reports I see Cook and I see Root and I see Anderson and I see Ali, but Stokes’ name never sticks out at me for doing anything important. And his averages would suggest that might be true, but if it’s not, good for England.

          • October 9th 2017 @ 5:10pm
            Dexter The Hamster said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            He scored 250 odd in South Africa, and took 6 for nothing the other week against WI. The lad can play.

            • Roar Guru

              October 9th 2017 @ 5:15pm
              The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

              If good performances against the WI are the bench mark, Shaun Marsh is a world beater. But like I said, if he’s apparently really good, then it’s sad he won’t be hear (from a sporting perspective). As I said, whenever I read about the England team, his name never seems to be relevant, but I wouldn’t pretend to follow them closely.

      • October 9th 2017 @ 2:10pm
        Mike Dugg said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

        And also, Stokes unlike Watson actually shows up in high pressure situations.
        Stokes has averaged over 40 with the bat the last few years. His bowling isn’t as productive though

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 2:34pm
          The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

          Watson averaged over 40 with the bat for a few years too. He was Mr Reliable. If his career survives this, I wish him all the best in trying to outdo the most mediocre, but somehow was also VC, test all rounder of the 21st century.

      • Columnist

        October 9th 2017 @ 8:03pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 9th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

        “I didn’t even think Stokes was that important to their team.”

        Over the past two years Stokes has averaged 45 with the bat and 28 with the ball in Tests.

        He has essentially been two-players-in-one for England over that period.

        In Australian conditions Stokes is England’s most important player, moreso even than Root.

        • Roar Guru

          October 9th 2017 @ 9:14pm
          The Bush said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

          Thanks Ronan. He must have had a very poor start to his career to only average 35 and 33 after that run of performances.

          • Columnist

            October 9th 2017 @ 9:41pm
            Ronan O'Connell said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

            No worries Bush, people forget that only 18 months ago Stokes’ Test record was pretty much as bad as Mitch Marsh’s.

            Test averages after 20 Tests:

            Stokes ……… 27 bat, 40 ball
            Marsh ………. 23 bat, 37 ball

            • Roar Guru

              October 10th 2017 @ 11:32am
              The Bush said | October 10th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

              So can Marsh go on to become a Stokes Ronan? He’s still young…

              • Columnist

                October 11th 2017 @ 8:53am
                Ronan O'Connell said | October 11th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

                Bush no I don’t think Mitch Marsh will ever be even close to as good a Test cricketer as Stokes.

                The issue I had with Marsh is that his batting actually went steadily backwards over his 21-Test career – he looked really good with the bat in his debut series in the UAE and then he just got worse and worse over the following 2-3 years.

        • October 11th 2017 @ 2:50pm
          Gus O said | October 11th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          Ronan,
          Much as every team would love a player who is a world class No. 6 batter who is also a genuine medium pacer that can keep one end buttoned up tightly and chip in with a couple of wickets per test, particularly with the older ball. But world class all rounders are rare, and bowling injuries are too common, as was the case with both Steve Waugh and Shane Watson.
          We have a number of options in Henriques, Stoiness, Mitch Marsh – but do we have anyone on the horizon who is a genuine test quality all rounder?

      • Roar Rookie

        October 9th 2017 @ 9:27pm
        Joe MacDougall said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

        He’s become the talisman and most inspirational player in the last 12 months. Ignore his careers stats, he had a really poor start to his career.
        He’s scored some big hundreds at important times against top bowling attacks, and the way he does it can really change a test match.
        His bowling has also improved, and being our 5th bowler takes a lot of pressure off Moeen Ali – without stokes in the side suddenly Mo has to be able to hold an end up as well as take wickets – something he’s not so good at.

        Oh, and he’s our best fielder. By a mile.

        So, all in all, leaves a massive hole!

    • October 9th 2017 @ 11:45am
      Chui said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      Having Kim Jong ‘IL’S’ launch codes would be a truly impressive feat 😉

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