Opinion: England need Stokes immediately

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Following their 10-wicket spanking at the Gabba, Jonhenry Wilson reckons it's time that England swallow their pride and recall Ben Stokes. 

England really missed a genuine all-rounder in the first Ashes Test - and one wonders if they shouldn’t just swallow their pride and call up Ben Stokes.

The balance of their XI in Brisbane was severely lacking. Chris Woakes, as decent as he is with bat and ball, is not a genuine Test all-rounder.

If the tourists are to stand by Jonny Bairstow, who has been accused of head-butting Cameron Bancroft, then they should be willing to call up Stokes despite that brawl in the streets of Bristol. While there is video evidence of one incident but not the other, they’re equally objectionable – and ultimately forgiveable.

Toward the end of Kevin Pietersen’s international career, England were often implored to make a concession and recall the so-called disruptive batsman. They never did – and their middle order has never really been the same since. All and sundry, to this day, will wonder what would have been had the talismanic right-hander been afforded a year or two more with the Three Lions.

Returning Stokes to the ranks would show they’ve learnt from that lesson. He will still have to deal with the long arm of the law, but in cricketing terms he could carry on as is.

As things stand, he will probably play some domestic cricket in New Zealand instead. The land of his birth are understandably eager to have his services. A batsman and bowler of such significant calibre, regardless of his off-field shortcomings, should not be lost to the game – domestically, if not internationally – for a prolonged period.

Stokes hasn’t played competitive cricket for more than two months. A stint with Canterbury will be welcomed for a player eager for game time – and battling to remain match fit for when the call from England eventually arrives.

For now, though, the tourists must the heed the warning of Andrew Strauss and others. Stokes and Bairstow’s actions have suggested a thuggish mentality in and around the squad. They must toe the line, especially away from home, on an all-important Ashes tour, in front of a media pack determined to sensationalise non-events.

Meanwhile, all eyes remain on Woakes. Afforded a big opportunity in the absence of Stokes, he isn’t quite delivering. He is a totally different type of cricketer, yes, but has to answer the same demands of an England Test all-rounder. That is, of course, if the visitors don’t instead opt for leg-spinner Mason Crane under lights for the first ever day-night Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.