Test great former skipper of Australia Steve Waugh says England can't win the Ashes without all-rounder Ben Stokes and the bad boy all-rounder would have been vacant immediately if he was Australian. England vice-captain Stokes was arrested last month in Britain on distrust of causing actual bodily harm and suspended from internationals until further notice following an apparent fight outside a nightclub. He was built-in in their Ashes squad but the England and Wales Cricket Board last week said he would not travel with the rest of the players when they travel to tour against Australia.
While Stokes is yet to be charged, he remains under investigation, and Waugh hit out at England's failure to immediately drop him from the Ashes squad. "I think if it was anyone in the Australian side, they wouldn't be picked. You can't do that these days in public. It just didn't look good and it's a bad image for the game,"
Stokes' absence from the five-Test tour, starting in Brisbane on November 23, would be a huge blow for Ashes-holders England, who have lost two out of their past three tours Down Under 5-0.
He is likely to explode middle-order batsman and a dangerous right-arm fast medium bowler as well, and not being in Australia will pile more pressure on the likes of the experienced Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. "Without Ben Stokes, we'll win," said Waugh. "It's too much pressure on Broad and Anderson, and they're getting a bit older, and I can't see them playing five Test matches straight. "I think Australia will win 3-1."