Rules of Engagement

You know what?  We don’t even want to talk about it in a post.  In the comments, for sure, go for it.  In a blog post?  Not really.  The law took its course, the jury delivered its verdict.  That’s how it works, and he leaves court acquitted and a free man.  Decision made.

What it might mean for England is a little more complex and depends on what path they decide to go down.  There will be an internal inquiry, and whether he faces additional punishment or whether it will be felt to be “time served” given he missed most of last winter is an open question.

There’s a lot to talk about and a lot to discuss, but please forgive us if we feel that a lengthy post isn’t the place to do it, but the comments probably are.

Over to you…


139 thoughts on “Rules of Engagement

  1. jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Can I bring KP into this?

    I’ll get my coat….!


  2. metatone Aug 14, 2018 / 2:11 pm

    So, on the other thread I posted:

    “How are England going to help avoid this happening again?

    Obvs. Stokes is not with England 365 days a year, but he is with them a lot and (eg) I’d very much expect some Aussies in a bar to try and wind him up on the next tour Down Under.

    *This being Stokes getting involved in a fight in public after a big drinking bout. It’s just not a good situation for him to be getting into.”

    But I think I should acknowledge that buried in that is an open question: if a player is prone to this kind of thing, how much effort should you expend on protecting them from themselves?


    • jennyah46 Aug 14, 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Brearley spent most of his time protecting Botham from himself. It worked out OK in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Simon K Aug 14, 2018 / 5:09 pm

      Do something about the toxic drinking culture by which it is OK to get paralytic mid series and just over 48 hours before you’re next due to take the field.

      Even if you’re young and fit, you won’t be back to your best shape two days after that kind of night out, even if you don’t end up knocking people unconscious.

      This sort of culture has been gradually eliminated from most other elite sports,and certainly at the international level. Do you think England went out getting lashed on vodka at the end of the World Cup group stage? They need to be told to behave like top level professionals and not random weekend binge drinkers.


  3. dlpthomas Aug 14, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    Any thought about why Kai Barry and William O’Connor didn’t give evidence? They seemed happy enough to speak to the press and surely what they had to say was important.

    Also, if Stokes wasn’t drunk (despite “three to four beers, six vodka and lemonades as well as a few Jägerbombs”), why can’t he remember hitting Ali?

    Do the police in England have the power to take a blood alcohol level if they arrest some-one?

    Was Stokes actually interviewed by the police or did he simply give them a written statement after consulting with his lawyer?


    • Zephirine Aug 14, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      He was definitely interviewed by the police, as I recall they kept him in custody overnight.

      They can take a blood sample for alcohol level. They don’t seem to have bothered, presumably he was visibly very drunk so why wake the doctor up to prove it.

      My memory from when I used to have to research all this stuff is that affray is a bit of a catchall charge meaning ‘it all kicked off and we don’t know quite who hit whom or why, but the violence was above acceptable levels.’
      If they had a good case against Stokes in particular, you’d expect it to be one of the assault charges and even GBH given the damage to the man’s eye-socket. So either they knew that wouldn’t stand up in court because of the general confusion, or they got leant on to bring a lesser charge. Or both.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 3:20 pm

        He was interviewed under caution and replied “no comment” to every question. A bit like Kate McCann when she was identified as a suspect by the Portuguese police (except, of course, that Gerry McCann wasn’t in the interview with good old Ben).

        As Zeph has said, Stokes can consider himself a very lucky man. The verdict is the verdict but, in my book, you’re taking a hell of a chance hitting people that hard in the head and I would vacate the area if I felt threatened rather than “take out” the threat but hey-ho we’re all different.

        What really disgusts me though is that if this had been Pietersen, the ECB and the media would be burning cardboard cut outs of him. The hypocrisy stinks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 3:23 pm

          Please, PLEASE do not start bringing other, unresolved cases into the discussion!!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 3:29 pm

            Sorry! Remove if you want!


  4. Zephirine Aug 14, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    I find I don’t care much if Stokes is in the side or not. Don’t get me wrong, he’s good, but he’s not central. They managed fine without him and they could do so again.

    But yes. Everybody thought it was ever so funny when he smashed a locker and broke his hand. Cook suggested that you can’t captain Stokes, you just turn him loose, as if this was rather endearing. IMO the guy has serious problems. And he’s been very lucky.

    I dunno, call me old-fashioned and I know cricket is supposed to be inextricably entwined with booze (in the anglophone countries anyway), but did they not have it explained to them that the half million a year and a free car come with a price tag? Like, you keep misbehaviour behind closed doors? How difficult is that?

    Liked by 5 people

    • metatone Aug 14, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Well said Zeph.


    • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 6:39 pm

      The funniest bit of the trial was when the prosecution barrister said to him you have anger issues don’t you? And he said no.


    • Sophie Aug 14, 2018 / 6:46 pm

      Remember when Buttler lost it against Bangladesh and the media were all like, “Yes, more of that please!” Incidentally, Stokes almost started a fight with Tamim Iqbal at the end of the match, but luckily someone brighter stopped him.


    • OscarDaBosca Aug 14, 2018 / 8:25 pm



  5. Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 2:46 pm

    I can’t see how the ECB can do anything to him now he has been acquitted. After all, his fancy lawyer will be very quick to point out “on what grounds?”

    Judging by the usual suspects glee at the verdict, and the haste at which he has been added to the squad for Saturday I should think someone will have to be dropped. Bit of kick in he teeth to Woakes or Curren.


    • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Course they can. The old “bringing the game into disrepute” thing is an example of that.

      He’ll have various contract stipulations that he’s probably breached. They can certainly punish him for those if they so choose.

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Aug 14, 2018 / 2:53 pm

        I think Woakes can feel hard done by if he’s left out for Stokes.
        Of course, if the weather is anything to go by, they’ll just drop Rashid.


        • dannycricket Aug 14, 2018 / 2:57 pm

          I think Rashid’s a valuable plan B bowler though, more likely to break a partnership if a couple of Indian batsmen defy the odds and manage to handle playing against swing bowling.


      • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 3:00 pm

        Maybe, but I have got the feeling all the way through this that they will welcome him back with open arms. He played in the first test match, and they were happy to have him around the team in New Zealand.

        But the ECB should be aware that if he is involved in any more off the field or on the field shanningans it will reflect very badly on them. After all, they set the standard when they decided that looking out of the window, and whistling a tune can have an entire dossier created on you, and a banning for life.

        But then some people’s faces don’t fit with this set up.


        • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 3:02 pm

          The disciplinary process is an independent one. Has to be these days – same reason it is for the Premier League.

          Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Aug 14, 2018 / 3:00 pm

        More importantly, if they don’t punish Stokes then what will happen if they later want to punish another player for a less serious infraction. It makes a mockery of the ECB’s disciplinary process. Besides, I doubt Stokes would mind giving Sri Lanka a miss.


        • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 3:16 pm

          But punish him for what?

          He has been found not guilty. As to being out at night when he should have been back in the hotel they already let him off before when he was out all nigh during the Manchester Test match. And they then covered that up from the media.

          They will say he he has had such a hard time of it this last year. Missing out on the Ashes, losing the vice captaincy, and gallons of crocodile tears will be shed.

          I’m sure some tame journos will write soft focus pieces saying he has been punished enough. Move on will be the cry.


          • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 3:18 pm

            He will undoubtedly have breached his contractual code of conduct – that has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case. Hence the disciplinary hearing. So yes, they can punish him for that. Whether they will is a different question.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sophie Aug 14, 2018 / 3:54 pm

            For “unprofessional conduct”, like Bairstow, Plunkett and Jake Ball have been for being out that night?


          • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 3:57 pm

            They’re allowed to go out. Couldn’t actually stop them for more than the odd occasion. But like anything, there’s a trust involved. My work involves me going to events, “networking” and so on. Pretty sure my various employers are entirely content with that, and would be less so were I to be arrested…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sophie Aug 14, 2018 / 5:19 pm

            I’m saying they’ve already punished some people for being out, despite being allowed to do so and not getting arrested.


  6. quebecer Aug 14, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    I’d have thought that any further action might depend on exactly what Stokes says at a disciplinary hearing. If he is in full contrition mode, acknowledges it must not happen, will seek help etc. then I can see a reason for no further action, given time served, as it were.

    However, that’s in a world where things make sense and are reasonable and fair. Therefore, ignore me. They’ll most likely go with no or not much further sanction because that’s what they want to do, not because that’s what they should do.

    I loved watching Stokes bat last summer. I thought he was as good as anyone around. But like zeph said up the thread, I’m pretty ambivalent now.


    • thelegglance Aug 14, 2018 / 3:32 pm

      Always think one of the interesting things with these affairs is how long it takes for someone to be “forgiven”. I saw one (non-cricket) journalist say that he’ll never buy a ticket as long as Stokes is in the side, which seems ridiculously absolutist to me, and akin to insisting on a sporting life sentence, with no chance of redress.

      I kind of get it, a lot of people will regard the whole thing as unsavoury, and fair enough too. But very often these days when someone does something people dislike for whatever reason, there’s a determination that they are finished from that point on. Always strikes me as a bit odd – some people wanted life bans for Smith and Warner for example.


      • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 3:52 pm

        It comes down to if your face fits with your employer. If it does, then a huge amount will be tolerated. If not, looking out of the window is enough to see you into retirement.

        I wonder if Stokes will answer the questions at the discipline hearing or keep quiet? Judge in his summing up told the jury that they should not judge Stokes for failing to answer the questions the police asked him because his lawyer told him not to do so.

        I had to laugh because after the trail Stokes lawyer told the media that it had been very difficult for Sokes …….

        “Today’s verdict represents the end of an 11-month ordeal for Ben,” said Lunt in a statement, “during which time he’s had to maintain his silence at times when many on social media, and in certain parts of the press, have pre-determined his guilt long before the trial was done.”

        Hmm, if he was so keen to speak why didn’t he answer the polices questions then?


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2018 / 4:16 pm

        Very true.

        Has this incident soured me towards Stokes? Yes.

        Did I like him a lot beforehand? Not really.

        If he is in the best 11 and available for selection, should he play? Yes. Absolutely. To say anything else opens up that can of worms.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2018 / 4:08 pm

    Even in his post, Chris has not remotely conveyed my weariness on this issue.

    He was found not guilty, as was the one other defendant remaining, while the other defendant walked a few days ago. I wasn’t in court, I don’t know how the evidence went, and I’m not providing a pretty fucking flow diagram to mansplain it to one and all. There are barrack room lawyers and then there is the “we know everything about other people’s jobs” world we currently inhabit. Yes, that’s rich coming from a blogger who casts aspersions on our Cricket Board, but then again, where would we be without a bit of double standards.

    What makes me laugh is the maiden aunts howling at KP’s impertinence in wanting to maximise the earning in his career, and the howling and greeting that that garnered in the press and from a lot of the public, but our heroic all rounder goes out and gets lashed up in the middle of a series, ends up in a fight where he breaks someone’s eye socket, and we are asked to be understanding and that the court’s found him not guilty. He may not be criminally responsible, but he is responsible for his own conduct.

    I see someone call us out as conspiracy theorists on Twitter over our linkage of positive spin by Vaughan and his management company employing Stokes. This is compared to him throwing Alex Hales under the bus at the time, who, remember, wasn’t charged. Yeah, mate. Jog on. If you are in any doubt, Buttler recall – Rashid recall. Any more, Mason Crane? Any more, James Vince recall? Funny how lots of good stuff happens to Fairbrother clients, innit? Stoneman (a non Fairbrother) doesn’t train like an international player, but Vince recalled has all the shots. I’m digressing.

    I’ve read Ben Stokes book. He glories in his aggression. He says it makes him the player he is. Fair enough. He’s not one of my favourites, and he couldn’t care a jot about that. Sport isn’t for good guys, they aren’t there to raise our kids. Sport is now about money. Stokes is “box office”. Sport is also about not rocking that financial boat. That’s what others did, and he, as yet, hasn’t.

    Not a proud moment for English cricket, if you ask me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      I think you have been remarkably consistent in all off this. You are old school, as are many. Trouble is the ECB killed off old school with their ludicrous charge sheet against KP. If looking out of a window is a hanging offence it doesn’t look good when your man is charged for brawling in the streets in the early hours,

      As to Shinny toy, I find it bizarre I ever rated this man. I thought he was a great captain. I know realise it was all an act. The Chauncy Gardiner of English cricket.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2018 / 4:39 pm

        I saw, in person, two remarkable hundreds by Michael Vaughan. I also saw a gutsy knock when out of nick in Jo’burg. I will always be grateful for 2005. I’m not about to trash my own house to spite my face by denying the great things he did. To do so would be like those anti-KP lot who couldn’t countenance remembering the great innings that won us games or saved us series.

        I just wish he’d shut up every now and again.

        Although we mocked that List two years ago, there was a reason Vaughan was so high. He is an important man in English cricket because he is across it everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 5:49 pm

          It’s too many times to be a coincidence, but your right, I still cherish his time in the team and as captain; a very good era!

          I wonder if there is an element where he regrets not properly going for Strauss’s role and now tries to have a big influence through other avenues, but will deny till blue in the face.

          Anyway, best to remember him from 2005. Although I have to be honest, if you ignore the ‘guff’ he still provides some good insight on TMS commentary, so not all bad, IMO.

          Liked by 1 person

        • OscarDaBosca Aug 14, 2018 / 8:37 pm

          Vaughan was a great captain. The qualities that made him that are probably not fit for a wider audience. He says what he thinks people want to hear and changes like the wind to suit whatever his agenda may be this week.
          7 series wins in a row (I think) with Fletcher as coach will be my favourite memory of Vaughan, I just ignore him now.


          • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 8:41 pm

            You are probably right. Didn’t one of his bowlers I think it was Harmison, but it might have been Hoggard say he was a great bullshiter?


  8. Sherwick Aug 14, 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Why didn’t the two gay men give evidence?
    Why didn’t Hales give evidence?
    All very, very bizarre.


    • Simon K Aug 14, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      The Telegraph suggests the two men didn’t give evidence because their story was incoherent and kept changing. Probably because of drunkenness. But evidently neither side felt it would be helpful.

      I think the fact the defence did not think they would help should be borne in mind if implying, as G Dobell has done, that the not guilty verdict means their claims must therefore be true.


      • Sherwick Aug 14, 2018 / 6:13 pm

        And Hales?
        Has Hales left the planet?!?


      • dlpthomas Aug 14, 2018 / 11:56 pm

        When the story first broke, Dobell claimed that Stokes was not only innocent, he was a hero (and if my memory is correct added that he should be given a medal). Not his finest moment in my opinion.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. growltiger Aug 14, 2018 / 4:19 pm

    I am rather ambivalent (not having expected that reaction, but there was so much repulsive detail, guilt aside). If Stokes is to slot back in, the obvious casualties from the side that played at Lord’s are Curran and Pope. But it would be more logical for one of the three least effective members of the team to give way. These were Rashid, Jennings and Buttler. I would drop Jennings and make Bairstow open, gloves to Buttler.


  10. nonoxcol Aug 14, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    Still, on a lighter note, you can always rely on #39.

    Discussing the case on radio, he refers to cricket needing to attract a new audience: “even women”.

    Once is unfortunate, twice might be a coincidence. How many times is this he’s patronised half the population….?


    • Zephirine Aug 14, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      “Even women”. In 2018. When women’s cricket is the fastest expanding area of the sport.
      I’d laugh, but I can’t quite manage it.


      • Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 5:35 pm

        I am shocked at that kind of comment on the radio in this day and age, sorry but the guy is clueless, self important and, well, I’ll leave the rest to the imagination.


  11. oreston Aug 14, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    I’m not surprised by the acquittal, but that’s only on account of my increasing cynicism regarding the criminal justice system. Still, the law has (after a fashion) taken its course – so if the England setup feel that his conduct is unlikely to cause future problems, and his form merits possible selection, I agree with LCL that he should deemed available to play. It would be a bit harsh drop either Woakes or Curran for the next Test though.


  12. Zephirine Aug 14, 2018 / 5:12 pm

    And presumably we will now be reading about “the New-Zealand-born Ben Stokes”?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Simon K Aug 14, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    I don’t care about him returning to the side, but then I don’t care very much about England either way nowadays. Don’t feel like it’s my team and haven’t for a while. They’ll probably sweep it under the carpet, it would be very much in keeping with how the rotten ECB behaves.

    I would say that George Dobell’s effective endorsement of Stokes conduct (not just apologia, active endorsement) is utterly disgusting, he should be ashamed of himself and I’ve lost all respect for him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      Simon – pls can you link article?


      • Simon K Aug 14, 2018 / 8:16 pm

        His tweets from today – see @georgedobell1. The shorter version is that he thinks Stokes’ behaviour was not just defensible but commendable.


        • dlpthomas Aug 14, 2018 / 11:59 pm

          He said something similar a while back on an episode of Switch-hit


    • nonoxcol Aug 15, 2018 / 5:16 am

      RIP David Hookes.


  14. Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    Can I just clarify a few things, because I’m confused and clearly don’t understand the law/justice system:

    1. A guy got his eye socket broken (fact)
    2. If I’m correct, it was assumed that person broke his eye socket, yes? Or was there ambiguity on that matter?
    3. Breaking an eye socket, would, I imagine, require a great amount of force, it would be beyond self defence? Then I’m no doctor, so maybe breaking an eye socket is easy?

    So, I don’t really get it, sorry. I can’t help but feel if I had been involved and broke an eye socket I would not be walking free. I know I would have been sacked from my job and, probably not allowed to return to my profession.


    • oreston Aug 14, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      I know exactly what you mean. Would a nobody who couldn’t afford fancy legal representation have walked out of court a free man? I actually felt the whole process was rigged towards the likelihood of an acquittal from the moment it was decided to try all of the defendants (to use the old fashioned word) for Affray only and NOT to pursue an additional charge of ABH or GBH against Stokes.
      Of course if he’d used “threatening language” or caused somebody”offence” on social media, instead of breaking someone’s eye socket with his fist, his feet probably wouldn’t have touched the ground.


      • oreston Aug 14, 2018 / 6:22 pm

        This is paywalled, so I’ve only read the first paragraph, but it seems the charging decision is indeed a source of controversy…


        • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 7:38 pm

          The charging decision was really odd – the only thing I can think of was that the CPS hoped to secure a conviction against three defendants. Of course what happened is that it turned into a “who’s the guilty party amongst the three defendants” and their respective counsels were able to put enough doubt in the jury’s mind to deliver a not guilty verdict. Not really that surprising. The late attempt to have an ABH charge applied to Stokes is both contemptible and ludicrous. Contemptible because it shows they either weren’t brave enough to earlier (but wanted to make some sort of point). Ludicrous because, as I said on the previous thread, there’s no way any judge would accept such an application just as proceedings were about to commence. There is lots about the whole thing that doesn’t sit well with me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 7:39 pm

            * Contemptible because it shows they either weren’t brave enough to earlier (but wanted to make some sort of point) or they mishandled the case early on which, had that not been the case, they would have arrived at an ABH charge.


    • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 6:45 pm

      I find much of the case bizarre to be honest. The fact Hales wasn’t called as a witness, the faffing about on what to charge him with. It all seems very odd.

      I also notice that when famous people are charged it seems to take a longer time to come to court than if it was a Joe Bloggs. Lawyers always deny that there is a two tier justice system.

      But they would say that wouldn’t they?


    • dannycricket Aug 14, 2018 / 7:50 pm

      The argument by Stokes’ lawyer was that it wasn’t certain whether the injury was caused by Stokes’ punch or Hales’ kick.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 14, 2018 / 7:53 pm

        There’s a sort of tone deafness to this comment by Vaughan…

        After this nonsense he should, in my view, be apologising to the supporters for putting himself in this position. Again, I can’t help referencing this against the way Ben Duckett was pilloried, the way KP was treated etc.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 8:16 pm

          I think it is we who have suffered enough of Shinny toys endless drivel.

          Far from me to defend 39 but he was quite sensible on five live earlier. He made the point about if a so callled professional sportsman should be drinking as much as this lot do. Agnew reckons he has been named in the squad so as not to prejudice the disciplinary hearing next week. 39 even went as far as questioning if he should come straight back into the team.

          Oh yes, the double standards of the ECB are very obvious. Yet our critics will never see it. There is, and has been for some time a clique in English cricket and it extends into the media. If you are not one of the good olde boys then forget it.


          • Simon K Aug 14, 2018 / 8:26 pm

            Professional sportsmen absolutely should not be drinking that much. At most it might be grudgingly tolerated at the end of a series with no fixtures in the immediate future. With just over 48 hours to the next game it’s appalling, self indulgent behaviour and apart from anything else would have a damaging effect on fitness.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 8:26 pm

        “The argument by Stokes’ lawyer was that it wasn’t certain whether the injury was caused by Stokes’ punch or Hales’ kick.”

        There is a joke about how we had to have a form of DRS replay in the court. Instead of judging an LBW it was who hit the victim? ………

        “Let’s check the no ball first to see if the boot was over the line, or ricocheting into someone’s head? Right, we can now move to ball tracking for the punch to the head. Can we check snicko to see if there was any outside interference with the punch? Now we can have full fist tracking to see if it was hitting the head. Full on? Yes half way up middle. Definitely out for the count.”


    • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 12:02 am

      The bone around the eye are actually surprisingly thin so it doesn’t take a lot of force to get a peri-orbital fracture. The defence argued that Hales had kicked the guy in the head (charming) so we don’t whether it was Stokes or Hales who was responsible for the fractures.


  15. Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 5:56 pm

    I do find it highly amusing how many people in modern sport today can’t function without an agent. Even commentators need agents apparently! If you’re David Beckham and have hundreds of commercial deals going on in the background I can understand it, but some of these names you hear? Really?

    Paul Scholes when he was at Man U used to take in an accountant and a lawyer once every 3 years to sign his new deal I believe. He would pay them a one off fee and not bother them again until the next deal needed negotiating.

    Everybody will need an agent soon, even the groundsman. What do you do for a living? I clean the bogs. Do you want an agent? Ok!

    The conflicts of interest are amazing. Footballers having the same agent as the club!! No conflict of interest there then, no sir. Pundits with the same agents as the players they are pimping in the press. It’s a sewer. The funny bit is some people really do see absolutely no conflict of interest at all! Boy, I would love to be their agent!


    • Zephirine Aug 14, 2018 / 6:47 pm

      What’s so weird in sport is the way ex-players become agents, often as well as being pundits.
      That just doesn’t happen in other areas – actors’ agents, for example, are a completely different species. You might very occasionally a retired actor becoming an agent, but he wouldn’t then get a job as a theatre critic so he could praise all his clients. Because no one would hire him to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 6:58 pm

        I think the reason ex players get involved as agents is they already have the contacts. It would be worth employing a few ex players in a management company even if they had no skills whatsoever, just to get a foot in the door.

        I think there will be a lot of hard luck stories in about 20 years time.


    • jomesy Aug 14, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Mark did you Stokes’ comments re his right to make a call following his arrest? He struggled on whether to call his wife or his agent. Guess who he called in the end…?


    • oreston Aug 14, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      This stinks. The comment that “…because of his celebrity…” Stokes’ case was reviewed by a top Treasury Counsel, who backed the affray charging decision, tells you all you need to know.


    • Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      I can not understand how Hales was not in the court when lawyers are claiming it was he who was responsible.


      • Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 9:23 pm

        Seems quite handy in a way doesn’t it Mark? Hales not in court, so lawyer can say it might not have been my man m’lud, it could have been the stamper who isn’t here and was conveniently not charged…..far fetched I know.


        • oreston Aug 14, 2018 / 10:52 pm

          A sufficient seed of doubt was planted in the jurors’ minds (that’s what defence lawyers always seek to do). Even if Hales had been on trial too, that same seed of doubt would presumably have got him off as well. That he wasn’t even charged with affray is one of the more “interesting” aspects to all of this.


  16. Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    Sorry, but off topic, just watched Mills take a hatrick. Love watching Tymal Mills bowl, really like him. Also thought he was really good in the studio, when he was used on TV recently. Shame he didn’t get a proper chance to see if he could cut it in tests…..


    • Quebecer Aug 14, 2018 / 9:33 pm

      Rohan, it wasn’t that. Mills was diagnosed with a congenital back condition that meant having to give up all forms of the game except T/20. It’s a miracle he’s even playing that.


  17. Sean Aug 14, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Must admit I couldn’t care a jot. Stokes will get a slap on the wrist because he’s a useful thug for now. As soon as his form turns ugly or when he is considered ‘persona non grata’ then the whispers will appear as they always do and a new rhetoric will be formed in the media.

    Rinse and repeat, can’t be bothered to say anything else…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. OscarDaBosca Aug 14, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    Don’t care enough about Stokes, always appeared to be an aggressive thug which is allowable in sport ‘just how they play’. Not surprised he was drinking too much mid-series, not surprised he found himself in a ‘situation’, would be very surprised if it doesn’t happen again.
    However apparently he has a ‘cricket brain’ so he may well become to English captaincy what Shane Warne was to Australian captaincy, perfect in every way bar character.

    Agree with Sean, he’ll be in until they need an excuse to ditch him, then they’ll unceremoniously dump him, ‘not really from the right sort of family’.


    • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 3:29 am

      “would be very surprised if it doesn’t happen again”

      Your not the Lone Ranger there my friend.


      • OscarDaBosca Aug 15, 2018 / 6:24 am



  19. Mark Aug 14, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    To be fair to Stokes this the opinion of the gay couple after the verdict . They would like to thank him, and are sorry for what he has gone through.

    You have to wonder how the police have managed to make such a dogs dinner of all of this? No Hales , uncertainty about the charge, it appears not believing the the gay couple. It’s all very odd.

    Still don’t think it’s the job of a professional sportsman to be acting as bouncer at 2am in the morning outside a night club.


    • Rohan Aug 14, 2018 / 9:24 pm

      So if a charge of ABH or GBH had been bought, with the evidence on display, would it have been more difficult to walk away not guilty?


      • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 3:33 am

        I wondered about that, too. Surely, if they couldn’t get a conviction for “affray” (or whatever the hell they call it), then they had no chance on a more serious charge of ABH or GBH.


    • Rob Aug 15, 2018 / 2:26 am

      Yes it is a shame Hales was not charged alongside Stokes – not only did everyone miss a great opportunity to see them blaming each other (as to the responsibility for the injuries to Ali) but Hales might have also done better before the ECB’s disciplinary hearing

      As it stands, with the ECB farce going to be held behind closed doors, I predict that Hales is going to lose out more than Stokes.

      Still a high profile trial is always great. Not often do you get three QCs defending in an affray case – so Ali and Hale were fortunate in that regard.

      And it was funny to read Dobell’s report on the first day of the trial where it was found that there was no problem with Stokes high profile status as none of them had any interest in cricket – you doubt that would be the case in India or Pakistan or Australia or New Zealand or South Africa or the West Indies. The Sky paywall has some benefits after all


    • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 6:49 am

      “You have to wonder how the police have managed to make such a dogs dinner of all of this? No Hales , uncertainty about the charge, it appears not believing the gay couple”

      You also have to wonder why the defence didn’t use the gay couple as witnesses. Perhaps the police weren’t the only ones who didn’t believe them. To be honest the only question I want answered is “is it reasonable to punch a guy in the head when he is backing away, has his hands up and is begging you to stop?” I don’t think it is. The dude may have “had it coming” for his earlier actions but the fight was over and he no longer posed any threat to Stokes.


      • Mark Aug 15, 2018 / 9:35 am

        Good point about why the defence didn’t use the the couple.

        The whole thing appears to be a giant shit show. Huge amounts of lawyers fees, both from clients and tax payers and enormous waste of police time.

        Someone got punched very hard in the eye socket, and nobody is responsible.Yet loads of legal people made a small fortune. British justice at its finest.


        • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 9:39 am

          If the recipient of the punch isn’t interested in pressing charges then it’s always going to be difficult. Hence affray for both of them.


          • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 10:21 am

            That’s an interesting point. The punchee has been quite quiet, apart from saying that he still had health problems. Perhaps he’s lining up a civil case against Stokes for some nice compensation. Perhaps he’s waiting for a tabloid to buy his exclusive story. Perhaps I’m a cynic.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 15, 2018 / 5:44 am

    Looking out of a window
    Whistling in the shower
    Being disengaged

    Go out on the razz
    Get bladdered
    Kick the living s**t out of somebody

    Words fail

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 10:26 am

      To be fair to Andy Flower [she wrote with gritted teeth] he did send Stokes home from a Lions tour back in the day, apparently with some tough words about Stokes only wanting to “piss it up the wall with his mates” rather than really wanting to play for England.

      The comparison I keep thinking of is Monty Panesar.

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Aug 15, 2018 / 5:59 pm

        Hah, now you’re pushing my buttons Zeph.

        (My hot take these days is England pressured Monty into alcohol use and naturally, not having grown up with it, he was vulnerable to excessive consumption.)


        • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 5:59 pm

          What makes you think he wouldn’t have grown up with it?


  21. dannycricket Aug 15, 2018 / 6:01 am

    My personal view on the situation is that the ECB have got themselves into a corner by punishing players for off-the-field and inconsequential behaviour. So KP was dropped indefinitely for sending private texts, and then ignoring Paul Downton & whistling. Ben Duckett was dropped indefinitely for pouring a drink on Jimmy Anderson. The entire squad was given a curfew after Jonny Bairstow’s weird headbutt greeting to Cameron Bancroft.

    Ben Stokes has done something which, however you look at it, was *almost* over the line of being criminal. On top of that, he also made fun of Katie Price’s disabled kid and (according to Mbargo’s bouncer) a gay couple. People who want him back immediately (like his agent’s public spokesman Michael Vaughan) will say that he already missed the Ashes series, and that’s punishment enough. First, I’ve heard people suggest he couldn’t get into Australia because, with an upcoming felony trial, he wouldn’t get a visa. Second, if that wasn’t the case, the decision seems to have been more to protect Stokes from the Aussie media than as a punishment.

    So the ECB have the choice between maintaining their principles with a lengthy ban, plus perhaps a strict lifetime curfew during series, or declaring themselves hypocrites. I’m guessing they’ll do the second one.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark Aug 15, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Brilliant Danny!

      Agnew pointed out last night that when the Ashes tour party was picked they did not know what Stokes was going to be charged with. If it was ABH the feeling was they couldn’t take him to Australia, (assuming they would have let him in) However, when it was the lesser charge it was by then too late to reinstate him.

      I think they protected him from Aussie media, and Aussie bars where another incident might of gone off. That in itself doesn’t say much for their so called integrity. And as you point out this all comes back to KP. (No wonder they so want everyone to move on.) They set the standard on what a player had to do to get fired. It was virtually nothing, so now they have egg all over their faces every time a player misbehaves.

      Added to which there has been, and still is a hierarchy of so called “favourites” that appear to be treated to a different standard. The ECB will now be forced to reveal themselves yet again, as hypocrites.


  22. Sherwick Aug 15, 2018 / 6:15 am

    “the ECB have the choice between maintaining their principles”

    They have principles?!? When did this happen???

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Aug 15, 2018 / 7:16 am

      They think they do, at least. It is as vaguely definied as The Line is by Australians so I have no idea what they are.


    • northernlight71 Aug 15, 2018 / 8:09 am

      Fear not, they are the kind that change on a daily basis so it’s easy to miss them 🙂


  23. Miami Dad's Six Aug 15, 2018 / 8:18 am

    I am one of those who was astounded by the initial footage, but really don’t care any more.

    Ultimately I’ve thought he was a bit of a dick for a while regardless, and found it funny that Carlos Braithwaite took him apart in the World T20 in a way that I wouldn’t have found it funny had it been, say, Plunkett or Jordan. “Nervous laddy” was it, from Marlon Samuels? I can see that he’s obviously not quite in control of himself, for sure. Some of the quotes in this are even more amusing in hindsight:


    • Rohan Aug 15, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      Reading that has really put me off Stokes even more. In my opinion that article does not present him in a positive light.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 3:30 pm

      Ah, the Secret Barrister. “People have been asking me to…..”

      There’s a tweeter maximising their fifteen minutes. Fair play to them. I don’t need them to tell me a jury works, and how they’ve heard all the evidence (given to them) and made their mind up that it didn’t meet the charge. But if it is validation we seek, then we shall find.

      PS – I quite like reading SB’s tweets. But there comes a point….


      • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 3:32 pm

        I believe it’s a her…but you’re spot on about the validation point.


        • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 3:33 pm

          My own latent sexism assuming she is a he. I shall now go off to be re-educated!

          It’s Zepherine Part II


          • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 5:14 pm

            Stop beating yourself up about that, Dmitri, I’d completely forgotten 🙂


          • quebecer Aug 16, 2018 / 12:16 am

            Ha! Did you go round calling zeph a chap? Sorry I missed that.


  24. dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    “But beyond that, the picture that emerged of him in court was of an honest, brave, strong (mentally, morally and physically), straightforward though not especially sophisticated man with a deep sense of responsibility for those around him”

    I think George Dobell really likes Ben Stokes.


    • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 12:25 pm



    • northernlight71 Aug 15, 2018 / 12:43 pm

      I was actually moved to gag a little as I read George’s love letter to this manly protector.


      • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 1:26 pm

        That’s not journalism, it’s soft-porn.


    • jomesy Aug 15, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      Personally I have no doubts at all regarding his testimony. In particular that he wasn’t imitating the gay couple (he was, of course, actually “talking to god” and he doesn’t do impressions). I also found his testimony where he denied that he flicked a cigarette at said couple but conceded it “does look like it.” Honest and brave. I concur!


    • Simon K Aug 15, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      This wretched apologia fails even to mention at all that he knocked two men unconscious, so we might infer that Dobell finds this aspect of Stokes’s conduct hard to defend.

      “Mentally, morally and physically”?? With that level of violence? Honestly the state of the media (cricket and otherwise) is appalling these days but I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed with any journalist as this.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonoxcol Aug 15, 2018 / 3:19 pm

        “But beyond that” and “let us consider, just for a moment, a sliding doors moment” are not just doing some heavy lifting, they’re doing the work of Bill Kazmaier and Jon-Pall Sigmarsson.

        Is there now something “morally” wrong with fleeing a scene where a bottle is being used, in fear for your own safety? I’ve always tended to get the eff away from places where Francis Begbie’s about to kick off, regardless of circumstance; never knew it was a moral failing.

        I’m suddenly starting to develop a preference for paeans to the doe-eyed doe-killer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 3:24 pm

        A lot of people like it, people who were on “our side” over the KP.

        I don’t know, I’m just getting even more curmudgeonly. Someone recommends an article, others fall over themselves to fawn over it because they agree with it. It’s the way of the world, I know. I’ve been guilty of it. Stokes has a track record of very indifferent behaviour, but he’s one where the talent “is worth the cost”. As Sean said, we know how this bargain ends. George is a good writer, he’s been someone willing to share his time with us and be able to talk to us when others wouldn’t, and one piece I might not like much does not invalidate that. It’s too soft on Stokes. If the message that seems to be out there that Ben has “suffered enough” as if only he hadn’t been out on the piss at 2:30 am in the middle of an international series, such happenstance would not have imposed itself on him, is not great. Even when there is mild excoriation after saying what a silly boy he is. Indulging this behaviour can only end in tears. Ben knows, while he is fit and in form, that England cricket don’t hold the whip hand. He might find after the IPL he had, that maybe that hold he might have isn’t quite as tight as he thinks.

        Personally, I’d leave it all be now. But there’s a need for people to be validated and they’ll find it with Hyde, Marks, Atherton, Dobell et al and go on with their lives.

        Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Aug 15, 2018 / 2:19 pm

      “But when you consider their serial ineptitude, cynicism and moral wimpiness, it really is a continuing marvel that the ECB themselves have never faced a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.”

      I wish I had written that line! That, Mr Dobell, is journalism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 2:29 pm

        “There will indeed. The Crown Prosecution Service, meanwhile, will have its own range of matters to fully consider, while internet users will have a range of Jeremy Corbyn-inspired “present but not involved” jokes to consider before making their own selection.”

        Marina been on our Twitter feed?

        Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 2:41 pm

        Wasn’t overly impressed by that article, because, let’s be fair for once, the ECB were put in an impossible position and Hyde does nothing to contemplate that. Outright bans in advance of a charging decision could have put them in a difficult employment position. They tried to walk a difficult tightrope, and probably always would have failed. But that’s easy to have a pop at. Then post charging, and with Stokes and his advisors possibly pointing to restraint of trade and other such matters, the ECB felt they had to select him. This isn’t a KP at the end of a career which they thought they could weather. This was our “most important” player.

        However, one thing she is right about is the book. I wonder if she read it? I did earlier this year (I especially liked the bit where he mentioned how mental intensity drops once a series is decided, even if players kid themselves that it doesn’t – explaining the hammering in the 4th test in South Africa) and he does make a great play on his aggression, his determination etc.


        • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 3:16 pm

          You beat me to it. I can’t see much that ECB could have done differently that wouldn’t also have been open to criticism. Whatever they did, it would have been wrong.

          And that’s the trouble with this whole affair, and why I don’t have a clue what to say in a post about it. It’s all unsavoury, and all the coverage is going to ultimately come down one side or the other.

          I don’t much like what Dobell has written, but I’m not going to blank all his articles because I’m uneasy with his views on one subject. That ends up the very definition of an echo chamber.

          Nor am I going to second guess the verdict (unanimous) of a jury who heard all the evidence, not just watched a video.

          Sometimes, it’s possible to just not be sure and to accept what was decided.


        • thebogfather Aug 15, 2018 / 3:31 pm

          I flagged up the article not because I agreed with all of it, but as recognition that all the ‘poor Stokes’ blather from a lot of the cricket msm ignores his idiocy and the ECB twists and turns throughout the year, whilst fannying about with other ‘lesser’ incidents of poor behaviour.
          Now, all that seems to matter is who he’ll replace come Saturday… but does his form (apart from a spell on a helpful wicket against a shambles of a batting order) and his extended drop in batting productivity warrant his inclusion? I don’t think so.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 3:52 pm

            Newman appears to be closer to our line, if there is a line, which at a base level worries the hell out of me.

            I’m just one of those sad deluded people who realise shit happens, and that you can get involved in circumstances outside of your control (lord, I followed Millwall around the country for 15-20 years), but you really should minimise and mitigate the risks involved (spoken like a former risk analyst, who very much subscribes to the view on that profession in the original Paddington movie) to not put you in that place. I throw all that sportsperson as role model guff in to the dustbin. So those saying “I’ve never got into a fight” are lucky they can run quickly. I have the story of a relation being set upon for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time by a gang in Eltham. Three years later, that gang got national publicity for a very high profile crime.

            That said, being pissed at 2:30 am and putting himself in that position, with that knockout punch that reminded me of Julian Jackson on Bomber Graham, is seen by many as less of a concern to team ethics and culture than someone getting the hump with the captain, vice-captain and coach in the middle of a humiliation. For those who picked his slack up in the Ashes, I wonder what they truly feel? For those replacing him in teams, are they happy that he’ll be back? Is this really like the Botham of the 1980s?


          • Benny Aug 15, 2018 / 6:59 pm

            I remember watching that Herol Graham fight. It was the only punch that Jackson managed to land but it finished Graham’s career. Real shame.

            As for Stokes, I don’t know other than he shouldn’t have been there anyway.


          • OscarDaBosca Aug 15, 2018 / 6:59 pm

            You may be missing the point about immediate reselection.
            Can you put a y on the end of Curran or Rashid?
            Nope, so it will be Stokesy and Woakesy (and Rashid because to drop him can’t happen because of Politics (and he can’t be dropped on form because he batted well at Edgbaston and took wickets and famously didn’t play at Lord’s))
            Also Selvey says Curran on Twitter (I have to stalk him in a different browser!)


        • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 5:16 pm

          Erm, George Dobell didn’t ghost that book by any chance?


          • Zephirine Aug 15, 2018 / 8:38 pm

            Ah. It’s disinterested affection then.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 15, 2018 / 3:27 pm

        I think we’ve done something similar most days for about four years. Why does Marina get everyone dewy eyed? 🙂


        • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 3:29 pm

          She doesn’t me. Not her, not Barney Ronay. I don’t see that much different in the fawning for those two and the vomit inducing crawling towards Selvey up until 5 years ago.
          And I have to say, it seems very specific to the Guardian.

          Don’t get it now, didn’t get it then.


          • Mark Aug 15, 2018 / 4:23 pm

            Yup its the Guardian. Pearl clutching and taking offence is part and parcel of their MO. Oh and sneering, and being supercilious as well. Loathsome people. No wonder Selvey worked there for decades.

            But my political views don’t fit with this site so I will shut up, and rightly so because this a sports site not a political one.


          • thelegglance Aug 15, 2018 / 4:25 pm

            You might be surprised to know Mark that the political views of us on here are very, very different indeed.

            If that’s not been realised, I’d call that a major success!


  25. Mark Aug 15, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    Sorry to come back to the KP thing, but it’s all there in all of this latest farce. They came down on him for very trivial reasons, and they sneered at him and us for pointing out the idiocy of their actions. We were lectured to by Strauss on the issue of trust. Ha ha ha. Trust, the ECB wouldn’t know trust if it smacked them in the eye socket.

    The same people who wanted rid of KP now find themselves gloriously backtracking on the sanctity of principles because it could mean their favourites get booted out too. If you elevate sportsman to the status of role models, and constantly brag about how professional they are then don’t complain when said sports stars make you look like a Burke.

    There is no trust in this set up, There is a clique of insiders where the rules don’t apply. We saw it with the fake twitter account and how certain players got a free ride while others got smeared for minor transgressions. No trust, only arbitrary justice depending on which way the wind is blowing.

    I used to be of the old school, what goes on tour stays on tour. But then sportsman elevated themselves into cultural figures, with agents and twitter accounts and only speaking to the media through their sponsors,and piously becoming spokesman for “issues.” They boasted about their professional integrity, and enormous salaries. I now find it amusing when they get found out they have feet of clay. The Premiership is full of these charlatans. Either let them do as they please, but stop the pious lectures on trust, and sponsorship bullshit. Or impose some standards. But please make up your F****** minds.


    • OscarDaBosca Aug 15, 2018 / 7:09 pm

      Agree with all of this.
      Sportsmen and women shouldn’t really be role
      models. If they have reached the top of their profession they may well contain some very unpleasant characteristics. Like all people some are nice, some are loathsome, and some of them act like children (especially hot-housed young footballers and cricketers who are removed from the traditional teenage pursuits of making an idiot of yourself, doing stupid dangerous things and generally growing up into young adults)


  26. Mark Aug 15, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Ah night clubs, and sportsman just going out for a few drinks……

    A statement from Jersey Police followed. It read: “This afternoon 30-year-old Daniel Cipriani was charged with common assault, larceny, assault on police, resisting arrest and disorderly on licensed premises.

    Perhaps he has suffered enough?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. man in a barrel Aug 16, 2018 / 9:45 am

    It seems a certainty that Stokesy will play and that the ECB will try a cover up operation. My guess is a steep fine and an anger management course. Maybe it’s fortunate that Marlon Samuels and Carlos Braithwaite won’t be in the opposition anytime soon.


  28. man in a barrel Aug 16, 2018 / 9:46 am

    Can anyone remember what happened to Lillee when he kicked Javed’s arse?


    • man in a barrel Aug 16, 2018 / 9:50 am

      OK, a 2 match ban and $120.

      Back in 1971, John Snow was banned for 2 Tests after barging into Gavaskar.

      I guess Stokesy has already served his time…


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