English cricket will deal with Stokes scandal

Ben Stokes in action for England
©Reuters
 

The world of politics, entertainment and sport has been plagued by scandals in recent months and it shows no signs of abating.

But history proves that it is no new phenomena and scandals have been part and parcel of English life since Henry VIII decided that one wife was just not enough.

Cricket is no different and, from Australia instructing Trevor Chappell to bowl an underarm delivery to ensure victory against New Zealand back in 1981 to more recent match-fixing incidents, the game has moved from one crisis to the next.

English cricket does not seem to have suffered with match-fixing in the same manner as its Asian counterparts and was quick to come down hard on the trio of Pakistan players who tried to get away with it in 2010, but the ongoing Ben Stokes saga is no less serious for the England team, the player and the sport in general.

It has been obvious watching him play that the Durham man has a fiery temper which drives him on to succeed, but that has boiled over on a few occasions, most notably in his feud with West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels.

It all got a bit silly and did the game no good at all, but that was confined to the pitch and did not seem to spill over to extra-match activities.

The Bristol nightclub brawl, so vividly caught on camera, is another matter and showed a darker side to the Three Lions all-rounder, who was said to have thrown 15 punches in 60 seconds.

The legal ramifications for the 26-year-old are still being decided but it appears he will play no part in the Ashes and make what was already going to be a tough trip almost ‘mission impossible’ for Joe Root’s men.

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Little is known of the reasons behind the punch-up but Stokes will need to work hard to rebuild his tarnished image once the police investigation is concluded, regardless of whether he has to stand trial.

England coach Trevor Bayliss insists that the players Down Under have moved on from the incident and are focused on their not insignificant task of trying to retain the famous urn but, back in the UK, the worst may be yet to come.

But it is not inevitable that Stokes’ career is over and the way he responds to the situation may well define his playing days as much as smashing the ball to all parts of Cape Town.

The New Zealand-born ace needs to take some guidance from those closest to him to ensure that he appears contrite and it would do no harm if he was seen helping out kids or working with people who have anger issues to try and turn an obvious negative into something a little more positive.

Mohammad Amir returned from a five-year ban to retake his place in the Pakistan side and the hope is that Stokes can do the same – whenever it might be.

The world will (hopefully) keep turning and there will be good and bad at every turn but cricket and sport in general is always bigger than one individual, and the game will move on.