Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden has cranked the pre-Ashes war of words yet another notch by goading absent England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
The first Test starts on Thursday in Brisbane, but Stokes, England’s vice-captain, will play no part after his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
Stokes, who was replaced by James Anderson as the vice-captain, was left at home due to ongoing investigations, and is likely to play no part at all in the series Down Under, much to the annoyance of many English hopefuls.
Despite not actually being in Australia, Stokes has still remained in the headlines, and found himself getting into a war of words with former Aussie cricketer Hayden.
Hayden’s comments claiming he does not know who half of England’s squad are clearly rankled with Stokes, prompting him to question the pundit’s cricket expertise.
After seeing what Hayden had to say about the England squad, Stokes took to his official Twitter account to post the below message.
And, 46-year-old Hayden, never one to shy away from a spot of verbal jousting, hit back by branding 26-year-old Stokes a ‘ranga’, Aussie slang for someone with red hair.
You can see Hayden's response to Stokes in the tweet below.
So despite neither of them taking part in this year's Ashes, for very different reasons, it is they who are dominating a lot of the post-series talk.
However, all eyes will turn to the wicket this evening as the Ashes officially gets underway.
Joe Root’s England side will walk out at The Gabba on Thursday looking for a first victory at the ground since 1986.
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