Cricket

Ben Stokes.

Ben Stokes posts message to England team-mates ahead of first Test

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Without setting foot on a plane, Ben Stokes has managed to dominate the build-up to the Ashes.

England were already underdogs to retain the urn, and that was before their star all-rounder's antics outside a Bristol nightclub back in September.

The incident also spelled the end of Alex Hales' hopes of getting on the plane, but he won't be missed anything like Trevor Bayliss' controversial vice-captain.

In the weeks prior to his arrest, Stokes was being talked about as one of the finest all-rounders in the world. And with question marks against England's middle order and bowling attack, they were relying on him to be their key man this winter.

Sadly, David Warner summed the situation up perfectly when he told reporters earlier this week that the Durham man had let his team-mates down.

Of course, that comment was probably no more than a bit of classic Aussie sledging, yet Joe Root and co. must feel the same way.

It's not entirely out of the question that he'll join them later on in the tour, but that is pending the outcome of a police investigation. However, for now, he's resigned to watching it on TV at home like the rest of us, or those that can be bothered to stay up anyway.

Stokes has a message 

In the meantime, Stokes has taken to Twitter an inspirational message to the camp ahead of day one of the first Test.

It must be incredibly frustrating for him, especially as a character like the 26-year-old would have been more fired up than ever against the Baggy Green.

There have also been unconfirmed reports that he was defending others during the incident, which if true, will make him feel even more aggrieved not to be in Brisbane.

Australia are favourites 

Should the worst, or the almost inevitable, happen to England, they will be looking at the gaps in their inexperienced squad. Stokes' absence has undoubtedly left a void.

Ashes Series Media Opportunity

Equally worrying for Bayliss is that South Africa are the only visiting XI to win a single Test on Australian soil in the last five years.

None of this bodes particularly well for England, but hopefully they can take some inspiration from their team-mate's message.

How do you rate England's Ashes chances? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Australia cricket
The Ashes
Cricket
England cricket
Joe Root

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