Stokes has 'suffered enough', says Vaughan as all-rounder returns to Test squad

Ben Stokes

Former England captain Michael Vaughan says Ben Stokes has “suffered enough punishment” and has backed the all-rounder’s return to the England squad.

Stokes missed England’s 2017-18 tour of Australia while his role in a fracas in Bristol last September was being investigated.

The 27-year old was found not guilty of affray on Tuesday.

“The case against him should take into account the time he has already served,” Vaughan said.

“There is no question he brought the game into disrepute but cricketers have few opportunities in their lives to play an Ashes series in Australia and missing that tour was a massive blow for Ben.

“There is no need to keep clobbering him with suspensions,” Vaughan added in his Telegraph column.

Stokes has missed seven of England’s past 11 Tests, dating back to the Ashes.

But he did play in England’s first Test with India at Edgbaston this summer, taking 4-40 in the tourists’ second innings as the hosts won by 31 runs.

England lead India 2-0 in their five-Test series, with Stokes available for the next match, starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it would now hold its own disciplinary process for Stokes and team-mate Alex Hales.

Nottinghamshire’s Hales, who is not involved in England’s Test series with India, was present with Stokes in Bristol but did not face criminal charges.

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Stokes’ lawyer Paul Lunt said Tuesday’s not-guilty verdict marked “the end of an 11-month ordeal”, adding the player was “keen to get back to cricket being his sole focus”.

Ryan Ali, who was knocked unconscious in the brawl, was also found not guilty of affray.

The fight happened several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies at Bristol’s County Ground.

‘A lot of work to be done with Ben as a person’

Despite voicing his support for Stokes’ return to the Test match fold, Vaughan says the England all-rounder “needs to grow up”.

“I hope he does not walk away from this saying ‘I told you so’,” said Vaughan.

“I hope over the course of time he realises what he did was wrong.

“To be in a city centre, fighting in the streets and arrested by the police was the wrong way for anyone to behave, regardless of whether he is an England cricketer or not.

“To not have the wherewithal or maturity to get out of that situation shows there is still a lot of work to be done with Ben as a person.

“Kids look up to him as their hero and they have not seen him in a great light over the last few days. He has to understand that now is the time to take stock.”

England squad for third Test

Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes.

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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