With the Ashes exactly three weeks, England still don’t know whether all-rounder Ben Stokes will be In Australia with them for the first test starting on November 23 in Brisbane. The all-rounder, still suspended indefinitely because of his brawl in a Bristol pub back in September, is now looking more & more likely to miss the whole tour. But England coach Trevor Bayliss has said that he is preparing for life without Ben Stokes in the Ashes series,
Bayliss said, “I have written off Stokes already. But if he turns up it’s an absolute bonus. And if he did happen to turn up, I’m quite sure he would slip back in very easily. It’s totally out of our hands. We have just got on with preparing as best we can. The players have a very important, tough series coming up and they are totally focused on winning it. They are concentrating on playing without him. We can’t worry about something we can’t control.”
Despite all of these, Bayliss still believes Australia are still ‘beatable’: “If any team lose one of their better players it’s going to be upsetting to a certain degree. But we have time to smooth things out and find the right combination. We certainly wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think we could win without him. Certainly, we’ve been playing some good cricket, so have Australia. Both teams are similar. They are beatable.”
Many people believe that England won’t be able to retain the Ashes without their marquee all-rounder and former Australian great Ian Chappell is one of them. Only time will tell whether England can outperform Australia in their own backyard, that too, without one of their best players.