Steven Smith cautious in addressing Stokes incident

Stokes promises to give his story (1:20)

Andrew Miller looks back on the latest developments for Ben Stokes following a statement from his management company (1:20)

Australia captain Steven Smith spoke carefully when addressing the issue of Ben Stokes‘ potential absence from the Ashes series for the first time.

Stokes won’t travel with the England squad to Australia at the end of October following the late-night brawl in Bristol last month which left a man in hospital and Stokes with a broken hand.

Stokes, who was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm before being released under investigation, is still waiting to hear what route the police will take, but the ECB withdrew him from the Ashes squad and Steven Finn was named as the replacement.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Smith confirmed he had watched the video which emerged shortly after the incident and is alleged to show the fight outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol but largely kept his counsel on the issue.

“Whether he comes or not, that’s out of our control. You always want to come up against the best and test your skills against the best. That’s what Test cricket is all about.

“There’s no doubt Ben Stokes is one of the best players around the world at the moment.”

When asked how such an issue would be dealt with in Australia, he said: “I certainly don’t condone that kind of behaviour. Hopefully it never happens to one of our boys.”

Even before the police have decided their course of action, the fallout has been substantial for Stokes with the Ashes now looking a slim prospect and kit supplier New Balance having ended a 200,000 sponsorship deal with him.

Last week, Stokes made his first public comments since the incident although they were to apologise to Katie Price for the video which emerged appearing to show Stokes mock her disabled son Harvey. Stokes’ agent, Neil Fairbrother, issued a statement saying the allrounder would give his side of the story into the events in Bristol when the investigation allows.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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