Ben Stokes owes England after Ashes ‘circus’, says Steve Waugh

Former Australian captain Steve Waugh says Ben Stokes “owes his team-mates” after the “circus” that surrounded his absence from the Ashes.

Stokes missed all of England’s 4-0 series defeat to Australia over the winter after his arrest in Bristol following a one-day international, for which he has been subsequently charged with affray.

However, the ECB announced that the 26-year-old all-rounder would be available for the tour of New Zealand and he returned to action in the narrow defeat in the opening ODI.

Waugh described the situation surrounding England during the Ashes defeat as a “circus” and “unsettling” and says Stokes will need to pay back his team-mates for years to come.

“It’s been chaotic, a bit of a circus,” said Waugh at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

“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.

“For Trevor Bayliss and Joe Root to answer those questions was wearing – it was tough on Root.

“I’m sure Stokes has learned his lesson from what has happened, he left England in an awkward position. It put them off kilter for the whole trip and they didn’t really recover.”

Waugh, who captained the Australian Test side from 1999 to 2004, has sympathy for Root, who was leading England for the first time in an Ashes series, saying there was little Root could have done differently handling the situation.

“No,” said Waugh. “The police hadn’t made a decision and there was video footage [of Stokes allegedly involved in a brawl]. Everyone had access to it, it was always going to be a talking point.

“And then the [Jonny Bairstow “headbutt” on Cameron Bancroft] came up and a couple of other things.

“On any other tour they would have been non-events but 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.”

New Zealand vs England

February 28, 2018, 12:30am

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