Image courtesy of: Zimbio
The Ashes might not be until November, but left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc is ensuring that England all-rounder Ben Stokes will be targeted by the Australian public throughout the highly-anticipated series.
However, Starc’s plan will only work if Stokes flies to Australia with the rest of the England squad as he has currently been withdrawn from the Ashes team.
The reason for Stokes being removed stems from his alleged street brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol in the early hours of September 25.
The 26-year-old was arrested and held overnight on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
While Stokes has retained his central contract and the Test vice-captaincy, his participation in the Ashes remains in doubt as both the Somerset and Avon police and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have launched investigations against him.
“I guess I’d love if he was out here. I’d love for the Australian crowd to get stuck into him the way the Poms (English) get stuck into our blokes over there,” Starc was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “Regardless of whether he’s here or not, I think the atmosphere is going to be great at all the grounds.
“I’m really looking forward to that atmosphere and if Ben is playing I’m sure it’s going to be hyped up and really loud. But I’m sure Ben knows how to cope with that sort of stuff if he does play.”
England will be in for a challenge Down Under as they have been whitewashed 5-0 in two of their last three Ashes series in Australia.
If Stokes were to miss the Ashes, it would be a huge blow for England. But, Starc views it as an opportunity for the Australian fans to add even more pressure on the tourists.
“Why not? Go for it. The Aussie boys will be backing you all the way in,” he added. “On certain people I think it can (affect their performance).
“For certain guys, if they’re copping it in the crowd they enjoy the banter, they give it back and really enjoy that atmosphere and that banter both ways with the crowd. Other guys will go into their shell and it might affect their cricket.”