Ben Stokes: England cricketer 'was defending two men from homophobic abuse'

Ben Stokes: England cricketer 'was defending two men from homophobic abuse'

Ben Stokes: England cricketer 'was defending two men from homophobic abuse'

Damaging footage emerged shortly after Stokes' arrest that showed a man closely resembling the New Zealand-born star fighting with two men, throwing a flurry of punches and ultimately knocking one man - since identified as ex-soldier Ryan Hale - to the ground, requiring a hospital visit.

According to The Sun, Kai Barry, 26, and Billy O'Connell, 20, lauded Stokes for his actions outside Mbargo nightclub in Bristol in the early hours of September 25.

England arrived in Perth on Sunday without the suspended Stokes, who could join up with his team mates later on but Root suggested the hosts would not let his men forget about the reasons behind their vice-captain's absence. The dashing all-rounder was also dropped from the Ashes squad pending investigation. Kai feared he could be attacked. In terms of the reality of it all, we have to wait and see, we have to plan as if he's not going to be here. Ben was a real gentleman. Kai revealed they heard more shouts of "batty boys" but they ignored.

"I'm not a violent person".

Stokes had claimed to both the police and to the European Central Bank in their internal investigation that he was coming to the aid of two men who had been subjected to homophobic abuse prior to the incident.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of banter flying around on and off the field".

"Ben offers a lot to the team but, as I said, it's an opportunity for other guys to stand up".

Over the course of Ashes history only England's few real speedsters have taken wickets in large, cheap quantities in Australia: Harold Larwood on his Bodyline tour, Frank Tyson when he enabled Len Hutton to regain the Ashes in 1954-5, and John Snow when he did the same for Ray Illingworth in 1970-1.

Gavin Robertson, an off-spinner who played four Tests for Australia in 1998, believes Stokes will be in the English lineup for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba on November 23.

There were also warning signs for the tourists at the Waca (where they play the third Test and their first two-day warm-up starting on Saturday).

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