The time is not going well for England all-rounder Ben Stokes. After the brawl incident in Bristol in September, he’s since been suspended indefinitely by England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). However, he’s now been hailed as a “real hero” for stepping in and protecting a gay couple in the Bristol incident. For his suspension, Stokes won’t be able to travel to Australia alongside his teammates.
The couple, Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell told The Sun on Saturday that Stokes stepped in to save them from others hurling homophobic abuse at them. Barry and O’Connell said Stokes bought them drinks when they met him and fellow England teammate Alex Hales in a club that evening.
O’Connell said, “We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero. Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.”
Talking about his side of the story, Barry said, “I’m not a fighter and we didn’t want a fight. We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.”
O’Connell said he hopes Stokes gets to play in the Ashes. He said, “Ben is a really nice guy and I hope he can still play for England in the Ashes. It would be awful (if) his career was ruined over this. He was just trying to help defend Kai.”
With the first test just three weeks away, Stokes faces a race against the clock to get the green signal to travel to Australia.