BEHIND THE SPORTS DESK: Is it time to stoke the Ashes?
MOOSE: England stokes the Ashes with potential all-rounder inclusion
JUST when England cricket needs a saviour Down Under, surprise, surprise, a red-headed raging Ben Stokes finds himself in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is no coincidence world cricket enemy no. 1 flew out to Canterbury this week, in time to get a warm-up clash under his belt ahead of the third Ashes test at the WACA.
And I have absolutely no issue with it at all. Bring him on. He's probably the best they have to offer aside from Joe Root and that is who Australia should want to play.
To be the best, you have got to beat the best. Not some second rate, Barmy Army bootlegs.
But what irks me is the ability of England Cricket Board to lie through their teeth about it all.
The ECB proudly stated they would not make a call on Stokes, until the Police investigation is completed. Only days ago, ECB head of performance Andrew Strauss said there was no update on the situation.
The very next day, Stokes is walking through Heathrow Airport with two cricket kits and a plane ticket to New Zealand.
England Cricket is trying to disguise the fact they are putting winning culture ahead of discipline and team culture.
At the end of the day, Stokes has the legal right to be innocent until proven guilty, and if he was a garbage man, a barista or a journalist - he would be going to work just the same during this period.
So like all baggy greens proudly say - bring it on.
POTTSY: Stokes should take no part in good Ashes series
IF ENGLAND let Ben Stokes set foot in Australia and play in this year's Ashes, it would tear apart any credibility the English Cricket Board and Andrew Strauss have, and make a mockery of cricket.
The fact of the matter is that Stokes was beyond drunk at 2am on a night out when he allegedly knocked out another man, a British Army Afghanistan war veteran, in a drunken street brawl.
It's lucky for Stokes that he didn't kill the man, because it's happened before where one blow has resulted in blunt force trauma and killed someone.
I don't think it matters that there were alleged homophobic taunts or the claims that Stokes was defending the honour of a gay couple. The vice-captain of the English cricket team shouldn't be getting into drunken street fights.
Now it's clear that England is putting success above team discipline. What message does this send to young cricketers ? You can street fight, but if you're a good enough cricketer we will find a way to get you in the team?
If that's the case, Stokes won't have learnt his lesson, and neither would the English cricket side, dogged by accusations of having a booze-laced culture.
I'm certain if that was Dave Warner caught on camera fighting on the streets of Sydney, he wouldn't be seen in a baggy green for a long, long time, if ever.