David Warner: Absent Ben Stokes has let England down

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David Warner believes Ben Stokes has “let a lot of people down” and will need to earn back the respect of his teammates if he does eventually make it on to their Ashes tour.

Combative Australia opener Warner, who also dismissed any concerns a minor neck injury will keep him out of this week’s first Test, has had his say on the absence of England’s key all-rounder.

Stokes remains at home waiting to hear if he will be charged after being arrested following a late-night fracas in Bristol eight weeks ago.

He is currently suspended from international selection and will face an England and Wales Cricket Board disciplinary hearing once Avon & Somerset Police have concluded their business.

Warner said: “It’s disappointing for the England team and the country.

“He’s let a lot of people down. I’d love for him to be out here, because I know what a competitor he is, and a world-class player.”

Asked if he thinks that should happen, Warner added: “It’s obviously up to the English police first.

“But at the end of the day, he knows he’s made a mistake and it’s about him getting that respect back from his (fellow) players and countrymen.

“If he does come out here, we wish him well and hope he brings the fieriness to the cricket.”

Warner has often been known for his provocative behaviour on the pitch – and although he has toned that down of late, he is not ruling out the occasional word or two this winter.

“I’ve probably mellowed over the last couple of years, since having two little kids,” he said. “(But) I think, when you’re in the heat of the battle and things get a bit fiery out there, I will (still) be feisty, which is great.”

In the more immediate term, he insists there is no question of him missing round one at the Gabba on Thursday, just because he cricked his neck during catching practice.

Warner’s movement still appeared restricted at a subsequent press conference in which he nonetheless allayed fears he could be struggling to play this week, despite having faced only three throw-downs in the nets before skipping the rest of practice.

“I don’t think a sore neck is going to keep me out,” he said. “I took a high ball out there, and something just twinged in my neck. (It) is quite stiff. I’m getting a bit of physio treatment and hope it’s settled down over the next 24 or 48 hours.

“I’ll try and have a hit tomorrow at some stage.”

Warner decided to stop batting, because he was worried a full net would do more harm than good.

“It’s quite sore,” he added. “I haven’t really had a stiff neck like this one. I’ll get some treatment tonight, and get some heat packs on there and some fingers into it and hope it’s better tomorrow.

“I couldn’t align myself face-on with Hicky [batting coach Graeme Hick].

“So for me, if I’m not being able to face on him, there’s no point because I can’t angle myself and I’ll get into bad habits.”

David Warner
Australia cricket
The Ashes
England cricket

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