Ben ‘stokes’ controversy. Again

Dashing England all-rounder Ben Stokes is again in the news, but this time for wrong reasons. The 26-year-old cricketer was on Monday arrested in Bristol on suspicion of causing bodily harm and dropped for Wednesday’s fourth ODI against the West Indies. Stokes was later released under investigation — without charge — the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday. England opener Alex Hales, who was with Stokes on Sunday night, also missed Wednesday’s match at The Oval. As per the police report, a 27-year-old man was found to have suffered facial injuries following a disorder at Queens Road, Clifton, in the wee hours of Monday. Incidentally, Stokes was arrested in 2011 for obstructing the police during a night out in 2011 before being released after caution. In 2012, the Durham star was sent home from an A-team tour in Australia for repeatedly flouting curfews and bans on late-night drinking.

This isn’t the first instance of cricketers getting involved in public brawls in recent times. In April 2016, five Pakistan cricketers were put under investigation by the Pakistan Cricket Board on suspicion of getting involved in a brawl and disorderly conduct at Faisalabad where they were playing national one-day cup matches. Umar Akmal, Muhammad Nawaz, Bilawal Bhatti, Ovais Zia and Shahid Yousuf landed in trouble after television channels reported they had gone to watch a dance show at a local theatre and got involved in the brawl. According to sources, the brawl broke out when some of the players demanded that a dance song routine be repeated by the female artists on stage.

In July last year, the Sri Lankan cricket board suspended Kithuruwan Vithanage from all forms of cricket for one year after finding him guilty of misconduct and breaching the ICC Code of Conduct. Reports said the middle order batsman was involved in a late night public brawl in Colombo. It was the second disciplinary issue involving Vithanage. In September 2014, Vithanage was fined his full match fee and handed a “suspended sentence of one year” after leaving the team hotel overnight during a Test tour.

Aritra Mukhopadhyay