This Ben Stokes to Canterbury story is an interesting debate, because there are many sides to it. A multi-layered tale of sport meeting morality that probably has no real right answer, but it has been riddled with a lot of ill-informed reckons.
The Legal Stuff
This incident came to light almost three month ago. The Avon & Somerset police department looked into it, and they will have had a lot of experience in such incidents especially when it comes to severe provocation as a defence. They have now passed it upstairs to a centralised judiciary. It will be months before the case goes any further.
In the meantime, we are carrying the real risk that someone is going to be punished twice. If he is charges, and even convicted, that is when the punishments should kick in.
Ah; the hypocrisy of it all. Here is a player from the same province stood down after pleading guilty to a violent assault.
But the differentiation should not be hard to spot. McClure has been charged, convicted, and pleaded guilty. Stokes awaits his fate in a vacuum.
This should not be a difficult differentiation to make.
He’s banned from England, you know
Yes he has been stood down from representing England, but has never been stood down from any other form of cricket.
Some have said that’s convenient given the incident came to light after the County Championship had been completed. But that overlooks the fact the ECB have signed a No Objections Contract that allows him to play domestic cricket in other countries.
In civilised countries the rehabilitation of criminals is as important as their punishment. Clearly, Stokes has many issues that need dealing with, and you would hope that between him and the ECB these are being addressed with urgency.
But is moping around in the north of England in the middle of winter the answer with the paparazzi around every corner? Playing cricket in sleepy Rangiora seems a way better course of action.
And maybe some time with his mother is exactly what he needs.
England is using us
The ECB has been a bit cute with their work this week. They said he was on a private trip, and that is clearly not the case; he turned up with an amount of cricketing gear that would be the envy of most clubs in the country.
It may be so, and it may wind staunch Australians up too. It’s hard to see the problem with that.
Rangiora; cricket central 3 December
If it is true that Australia and UK media will descend on Rangiora this weekend you wonder what they will make of the place.