The announcement of the England touring party for the upcoming Ashes series over the summer was met by widespread groans from England fans who feel that the selectors have made a complete hash of it.
However, the England Cricket Board have had much bigger issues to deal with since that controversial announcement after footage emerged of vice-captain Ben Stokes and batsman Alex Hales engaged in a boozed-up brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol.
Both men, who are now the subject of a police investigation have been barred from playing for the national side until further notice and uncertainty reigns over whether or not Stokes will be allowed to play a part in the all-important Ashes this winter.
Now, relatives of the man Stokes was seen punching in the footage, Ryan Hale - a veteran of one tour in Afghanistan - have had their say on the future of the all-rounder. Speaking anonymously, the relative spoke of how proud the family were of Hale for his service and called for Stokes to banned not just from the upcoming Ashes, but to be barred from representing England again.
“He’s a loving dad and a proper family man,” the woman said, speaking of Hale. “He’s got a little boy... he wouldn’t instigate a fight ever.
“He’s a trained soldier, he’s been to Afghanistan, he knows better than that. But, he knows how to handle himself.
“It’s quite shocking. I don’t think he’s said much to anybody. You wouldn’t expect that kind of behaviour.”
The woman was then asked if she thought the 26-year-old should be allowed to play cricket for England, to which she simply responded, "No", while at the same time welcoming the ECB's decision to ban Stokes.
“He should not be allowed to just carry on as if nothing has happened.” she said.
The veteran's mother reiterated those comments stating that her son was not "the aggressive type".
The Durham star man is at risk of losing upwards of £1.7 million if he is charged with assault as sponsors look to distance themselves from the player.
The ECB find themselves in an extraordinarily difficult situation. Stokes is a vital member of the England squad and his all-round talents would be very much missed down under, but he simply can not be allowed to behave in such a way.
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