Chris Rogers, the former Australian opener has claimed that the English team could become 'torn apart' due to the Ben Stokes controversy.
Rogers was part of Australia side which toured England in 2013 underwent a similar circumstance when fellow opener David Warner was suspended for punching England ace Joe Root at a bar, which was described as a 'unprovoked, physical attack.'
The conflict that arose in Rogers' team led to a negative atmosphere within the squad, Australian head coach Mickey Arthur was stripped of his duties, replaced by Darren Lehmann and they subsequently went on to lose the series 3-0.
Rogers, who sees the similar Ben Stokes saga to be even more serious than Warner's four years ago, envisions England could seriously falter with the controversy hanging over everyone's head.
He believes that addressing the problem head on is the only option to stop England from being torn apart by the controversy.
“It’s going to be a factor, I just think it needs to be addressed. You have to get it out in the open, deal with it and move on," Rogers told The Mirror.
“Credit to Darren Lehmann, that’s what he did. One of the first bits of business he did was call Warner on it and say, ‘This is your last chance, you’ve got to start doing the right things.’
“It almost galvanised us a bit – it could have that effect on England during The Ashes."
"It could have the opposite effect as well – it could cause a bit of friction, but it’ll come down to the characters involved and the leaders, they’re the most important people."
Stokes, who is considered one of the top cricketers in the world, could leave England with virtually no chance of success as not only is he suspended, but the harmony within the squad is now believed to be disrupted due to the controversy regarding his suspension.
“The contest is worse for it, if he’s not allowed to play, that’s for sure because he’s such a big figure in England’s side.
“Stokes is the enforcer, the guy who is going to stand up to the Australian way. It’s going to leave a big hole that somehow England are going to have to fill.
“It will be interesting to see which characters step up to fill the void.
“But at the moment I don’t see how you can fill that hole."
“Of course, we want to win, but I was here in England when they won the 2005 Ashes, in one of the greatest series of all time, and the lift it gave cricket for a number of years was special.
“Test cricket needs that. We need The Ashes to be a contest to reinvigorate it.
“There’s been a lot of Ashes played over the last few years and it hasn’t always been that close.
“So, if we can have a close series, that would only be good for Test cricket and, naturally, Stokes would be a big part of that. So, like I said, if he’s missing, it lessens the contest in many respects.”
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