Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh believes that England all-rounder Ben Stokes “owes his team some good performances” after being away from international cricket for a lengthy period of time.
Stokes made his international comeback against New Zealand on Sunday, but prior to that, he hadn’t played any international cricket since September last year.
The 26-year-old was forced to miss the Ashes following his alleged involvement in a street brawl outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol last September.
Earlier this month, he appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray.
“It’s been chaotic and a bit of a circus,” Waugh was quoted as saying by the Daily Express. “He 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.
“And for Trevor Bayliss and Joe Root to continually front the media and answer those questions, that’s wearing on those players and it was tough on Joe.
“I’m sure he has learned his lesson from what has happened and he left England in an awkward position. It put them off kilter for the whole trip and they didn’t really recover.”
Stokes’ absence was a hot topic during the Ashes, which England lost 4-0, but Waugh feels that England captain Joe Root did an exceptional job in handling questions about the all-rounder.
“Joe couldn’t have handled it any other way. It was awkward as the police hadn’t made a decision, the jury was still out and you had all of the video footage out around the world,” Waugh said. “These days, if you do something like that everyone has access to it so it was always going to be talking point.
“And then the Bairstow thing came up and a couple of other things, which on any other tour would have been non-events but then 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.”