Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Ben Stokes can still be a role model, says Tom Harrison

LONDON: Ben Stokes can still be a role model despite his part in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017, says England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison.

England all-rounder Stokes, 27, was cleared of affray in August.

He missed five months of England games, including the Ashes, and was fined £30,000 by the Cricket Disciplinary Commission (CDC) earlier this month.

“Ben is a leader in the England team,” Harrison told BBC Sport.

When asked if Stokes can still be a role model for English cricket, Harrison said: “I do think he can – he’s been through a year that will serve as a constant reminder of how quickly things can go wrong if you allow them.

“He’s got great people around him, he’s got good support structures and I’m sure he’s learnt a lesson.”

Stokes was stripped of his role as vice-captain of the Test side but, since the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him, has reaffirmed himself as one of England’s most important players, including playing a key part in their 3-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka.

The Durham all-rounder pleaded guilty to all ECB charges over the fight and an “inappropriate video” on social media in a case ruled on by the CDC, which is independent from the ECB.

Harrison said the sanctions were not conveniently timed nor related to Stokes’ important role in both the Test and limited-overs sides.

“We have an independent body making these judgements, they are qualified people and this has been a proper process,” he said.

“The sanctions handed down are serious, this is not something that’s been brushed under the carpet.

“Ben is a key part of the Test and ODI team but I don’t think that’s got anything to do with the sanctions which have been handed down – the processes have been separate and deliberately so.”

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