regular-article-logo Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Ashes: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak backs England captain Ben Stokes’s stance

Stokes says after the Test match that he will not have wanted to have won the game in such a way

Our Bureau London Published 04.07.23, 08:11 AM
Ben Stokes.

Ben Stokes. Sourced by the Telegraph

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has backed England captain Ben Stokes’s stance that Australia did not play according to the spirit of the game when they had Jonny Bairstow stumped on Sunday, a key moment in the Lord’s Test match that the visitors won to take a 2-0 lead in the ongoing Ashes.

Stokes said after the match that he would not have wanted to have won the game in such a way. On Monday, a spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said the Prime Minister agreed.


“The PM agrees with Ben Stokes. He said he simply wou­ldn’t want to win a game in the manner Australia did,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying by the British media. Bairstow was stumped out when he appeared to believe the ball was not in play.

Asked if Sunak thought Australia had gone against the spirit of the game, the spokesperson said: “Yes.”

However, the spokesperson said Sunak would not raise the matter with his Australian counterpart Anthony Alban­ese, saying the focus would be on “core issues” of the relati­onship between the two nations.

During the Bodyline seri­es in 1933, then Australia’s Prime Minister Joseph Lyo­ns defused tension when he convinced his country’s cr­icket board not to make allegations of “unsportsmanl­ike” conduct against Douglas Jardine’s Englishmen. Lyons argued that a British boycott of Australian goods would cri­pple the economy, prompting the board to drop the charge.

Captains look ahead

Stokes and his Australia counterpart Pat Cummins appe­ared keen to move on from the controversy.

“I thought it was fair. You see Jonny (Bairstow) do it all the time, he did it on Day I to David Warner, he did it in 2019 to Steve (Smith),” Cummins told reporters.

“It’s a really common thi­ng for keepers to do if they see a batter keep leaving the­ir crease. Cares (Carey), full cre­dit to him, he saw the opportunity, rolled it at the stumps, Jonny left his crease. You leave the rest to the umpires.”

“It was all one motion, there was no pause or sneakiness about it. It was ‘catch, throw’ straightaway,” he said.

Stokes, while saying he wouldn’t want to win in such a fashion, preferred to look at the bigger picture. “It was an unfortunate situation, but it was an incredible game and I don’t think we should be talking too much about something like that,” he said.

With inputs from Reuters

Lyon out of Ashes

London: Australia’s Nathan Lyon, who hobbled out to bat at No. 11 at Lord’s on Saturday with a calf tear, will miss the remainder of the Ashes series, Cricket Australia said on Monday.

The off-spinner, who was playing in his 100th consecutive Test at Lord’s, sustained the injury while fielding on Day II.

With no replacement included in the revised 16-player squad, fellow off-spinner Todd Murphy is likely to come into the side.


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