Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Ex England cricket coach Peter Moores tells ITV News Ben Stokes should play in upcoming Test

Former England cricket coach Peter Moores has told ITV News all-rounder Ben Stokes should play in Saturday's Test match with India, despite recent issues off the pitch.

His comments come after Stokes was added to the squad following his affray acquittal, though current head coach Trevor Bayliss has not confirmed whether his star man will play.

Bayliss has also called for Stokes to apologise as he decides whether to return him to the team.

When asked whether Stokes should feature in the upcoming Test game, Moores, who had two stints as England coach, told ITV News, "if it's finished and moved on" then he should play.

He added: "If he's in the squad then you pick the best 11 from the squad and, for me, Ben Stokes would be in that."

Both Stokes and his England team-mate Alex Hales are subject to a disciplinary Cricket Disciplinary Committee (CDC) hearing over their roles in the incident last September.

Former England batsman Mark Butcher told ITV News the drinking culture was worse in his day - what's changed is the scrutiny on players like Ben Stokes.

Former coach Moores told ITV News he believes Hales, who did not stand trial, "should be allowed to move on" after he was cleared.

Moores' comments came as Bayliss addressed the media on the return to the squad of Stokes.

Despite being widely regarded as England's talisman, Bayliss said: "There's nothing automatic about selections, we'll see how he is mentally as well as physically. He's not played for a couple of weeks. It's a difficult decision to make."

His comments came as Ryan Hale, one of the two men knocked unconscious by Stokes, claimed he should have been treated as an assault victim rather than be put on trial.

Ryan Hale has issued a statement through his lawyers questioning why he was not treated as an assault victim. Credit: PA

Hale, 27, and his best friend Ryan Ali, 28, were both punched by the 27-year-old cricketer hours after England had played in the city.

Hale, a former soldier, sustained a 1.5-inch superficial laceration and bruising to his forehead – consistent with blunt force trauma – and was left with concussion.

His friend, an emergency services worker, suffered a fracture to the left of his face, a swollen left eye and a laceration above his eyebrow. He also had a cracked lower left molar.

Hale, Ali and Stokes all stood trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of affray but were acquitted by a jury.

During the trial, Stokes accepted he had punched unconscious the two best friends but insisted he was acting in self-defence, or in the defence of others, when two gay men, William O’Connor and Kai Barry, suffered homophobic abuse.

Much of the incident and the build-up was captured on CCTV cameras located around the popular nightspot of the Clifton Triangle.

Stokes and England teammate Alex Hales had left the Mbargo nightclub after being refused entry and were looking for a casino when the violence erupted shortly after 2.30am in Queen’s Road.

Ryan Ali was acquitted of affray. Credit: PA

Both Stokes and Ali claimed they were acting in self-defence and blamed each other for being the aggressor.

Hale was captured on video breaking off a metal pole from a road sign, but was found not guilty of affray on the direction of Judge Peter Blair QC as there was no evidence he had threatened anyone with it.

The Crown Prosecution Service has faced criticism for its handling of the case as on the eve of the trial, the judge rejected its attempts to charge Stokes with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Barristers representing Stokes’s co-defendants also questioned why Hales had not been prosecuted as they claimed video footage showed him kicking and stamping on Ali.

Since the end of the case, Barry and O’Connor, who did not give evidence during the trial, have given interviews calling Stokes a "hero".

Ben Stokes and several of the England cricket team were in the Mbargo nightclub. Credit: PA

In a statement, Hale’s lawyers said he could not understand why the CPS did not charge the cricketer with assault.

"It is of concern to Mr Hale that following the conclusion of the trial, Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry, neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25," they said.

"Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case, initially providing his denial to the police when he was interviewed on a voluntarily basis on September 29, and he maintains this denial to date.

"Hale entered a not guilty plea to affray and was very pleased that the court concluded that the evidence as presented by the prosecution did not support a conviction.

"Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault."