Mike Atherton upset with ECB for including Ben Stokes for NZ tour

Atherton believes that ECB has rushed with Stokes' return.

Stokes' return to the team is becoming even more gloomier. | Getty

The conundrum concerning Ben Stokes' return to international cricket is becoming a complex question to answer. While many cricketing fans are awaiting his return, there are some who are questioning the same. 

With England scheduled to play a series against New Zealand after playing the current one, ECB has included Ben Stokes for both the Test and the ODI series. 

Former England skipper Michael Atherton has criticised ECB's move to include the all-rounder in the squad. In his column for The Times, Atherton argued Stokes’ selection would set a bad precedent regarding the behaviour of cricketers. In his opinion, the ECB could have waited for the court procedure to be over before making a decision on his comeback to the national team.

“It would be hard not to have a high degree of sympathy for governing bodies in these situations. Alleged misdemeanors can vary in seriousness, as can the consequences, and so there are no hard and fast rules to follow. That said, the best that can be offered for the ECB’s decision-making as Stokes lands in New Zealand tomorrow having missed the entire Ashes series is that it is highly illogical; at worst, it is feeble and expedient,” he wrote for the London-based newspaper.

Ben Stokes was earlier given the green signal by the ECB to feature in the ongoing T20I tri-series despite the affray charge on him. The 26-year-old all-rounder is also due to play in the Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals after being given permission by ECB to sign a contract. The inaugural IPL champions roped in Stokes by expending INR 12.5 crores during the recently held IPL auction.

Former England skipper concluded his argument on the all-rounder saying that ECB should not have rushed with Stokes' inclusion. 

“Stokes was not prevented from earning his living. He remained on full pay while suspended from international duty. He has just been signed for £1.4 million to play for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.”

“Surely, selection for the national side is of a different order. Selections for the national team must be held to a higher standard,” he concluded.

By Anshuman Roy - 15 Feb, 2018

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