Former Australia captain and batting great Steve Waugh has went on record to say that mercurial all-rounder Ben Stokes ‘owes’ England cricket team and teammates, after his return to international action in the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand. Following his alleged involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub last September, Stokes was forced to miss the crucial Ashes tour and the subsequent ODI series.
Steve Waugh says Ben Stokes ‘owes’ England big time
Labeling the lingering speculation around Stokes’ participation in the Ashes series as an absolute “circus”, Steve Waugh said that England were on the backfoot even before the start of their grueling tour Down Under. He also cited the same as one of the reasons behind England’s 4-0 drubbing in the series.
Speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards, the legendary former captain said, as reported by ESPN Cricinfo,
“It’s been chaotic, a bit of a circus. Stokes certainly owes his team some good performances over the next couple of years because he really put them in a bit of a hole with the Australian tour, which was unsettling for the whole team.”
“For Trevor Bayliss and Joe Root to answer those questions was wearing – it was tough on Root. I’m sure Stokes has learned his lesson from what has happened, he left England in an awkward position. It put them off kilter for the whole trip and they didn’t really recover,” Steve Waugh continued.
While they were still dealing with the after-effects of the whole saga surrounding marquee all-rounder Ben Stokes, England’s trip to Australia was further sabotaged by the Jonny Bairstow ‘headbutt’ on Cameron Bancroft early in the tour at a Perth bar, which emerged towards the end of the first Test. The incident was then followed by more controversy when Ben Duckett was caught throwing a beer over James Anderson’s head in the same Perth nightclub.
“On any other tour they would have been non-events but they become magnified and all of a sudden you’re dealing with problems every day which you don’t need to. It just became a bit of snowball effect for the team,” Steve Waugh signed off.