Paul Lunt, Ben Stokes’ lawyer stated that the bench’s verdict justly reflected the actuality of what happened in Bristol that night. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board need to maintain the delicate balance while conducting its own investigation into the incidents that occurred last September at a Bristol nightclub
The England all-rounder, accompanied by his team-mate, was involved in a street scuffle in the wee hours leaving one man unconscious.
There must be an internal in-house penalizing procedure, which will be led autonomously by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC), and to assume that nothing further will happen and Stoke can simply walk away from court is impractical.
Although Stokes and Hales were not charged in this case after being interrogated carefully by police, they will however have to face a charge of bringing disgrace to the game.
Just before the Ashes squad were announced, the incident occurred. The players were out in the wee hours midway through a one-day series in which Stokes was vice-captain.
The board is likely to sweep the incident under the carpet but regrettably the CCTV images will certainly never vanish. The images have been circulated to all the four corners of the earth and do not represent the behaviors that people expect from these international sportsmen.
The disciplinary procedure will commence after the third Test Match against India, which will begin on Saturday. Thus, making it clear why Stokes has been included in the team for that match that will take place at Trent Bridge.
Then there are people who believe that Stokes has already been disciplined as he was not included in the winter’s Ashes tour of Australia, on the other hand it is also essential to consider that he was not proscribed for that tour.
The reason why Stokes was put off winter’s Ashes tour of Australia was that the ECB simply did not wish to plump for a player with ongoing police investigation.
Stokes was recalled to the team for the series in New Zealand at the hind quarters of England’s winter programme after the charges were pressed against Stokes and the court date was set
Cricket Australia suspended two of the Australian players during the superseding period — David Warner and Steve Smith—for an entire year for their involvement in the ball-tampering dirt in South Africa. Batsman Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months.
Although this incident will be seen as a guide by many, I suggest that the CDC and ECB must first prove that Hales and Stokes have brought the game in to disrepute.
The sanctions that were handed down by the Cricket Australia were not tied to anything their colleagues have done.
I am sure that there will be an extensive inquiry into the events that took place that night in Bristol questioning the purpose of the players staying out so late that too midway through a series. Conversely the authorities make sure that they contemplate the response carefully.
While considering the wider picture of the game’s image, they must also make certain that they do the right thing by Hales and Stokes.
The need to strike the right balance is imperative as both issues are important.