York student nightlife is known for some hilariously weird and wonderful things. Tab articles constantly mock how the University is one of the only in the country to take college banter seriously or to pride itself that it has a PopWorld with a revolving dance floor that is actually functional. It is safe to say that many of us here will accept that a student night out in Bristol is probably more enjoyable except perhaps members of the England cricket team.
With Vice-Captain Ben Stokes and Opening Batsmen Alex Hales both investigated by the police after they attended a Student Night at Bristol’s Mbargo club last Monday. As a sports fan I have always felt that part of the entertainment is not just on the pitch but also the stories outside of the sport. Mohammad Ali is widely respected not just for his achievements in the boxing ring but also for rejecting being conscripted to join the Vietnam War. Elsewhere Lionel Messi being investigated for tax avoidance or Wayne Rooney’s drunken driving has become a talking point in many pubs across not just the United Kingdom but all over the world. This form of controversy is certainly some thing that is not new to cricket as well. Freddie Flintoff gained legendary status not only how he played on the pitch but also for his drunken Pedalo incident and for still being drunk from the night before when England performed their 2005 Ashes victory parade.
It seems that Ben Stokes aggression is nothing new to the world or sport or the world of cricket. In fact if Stokes’ claims that the altercation are true, that they went to help aid two gay men who were being abused, then it means that he was acting in self defence on the behalf of others. Ben Stokes actions are still remarkably unprofessional and it is very understandable why the England Cricket Board (ECB) has suggested to players that they do not attend the stag do of Jos Butler (another England player) in Amsterdam, in order to protect the team’s reputation. In particular captain Joe Root and senior Stuart Broad have announced that they will not be attending.
Although it is important for sports teams to be professional, if the media simply portrayed sports men and women with some form of superhero status then they would be misleading the public. It is the challenge of a sports journalist to prevent sport from falling into this monotonous cycle. It is the stories surrounding sports which seem to go furthest in the minds of its viewers. Especially considering the up and coming Ashes tour in which sports fans revel in the rivalry and conflict between England and Australia it is important that England take their best team and pick players on their merit.
Ben Stokes is not a burden to the team and when fired up, has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the rest of the team. Ben Stokes has been a character that has resembled Flintoff not only in how he plays but also in the actions he takes off field. If Stokes is following the footsteps of one of England’s most iconic cricketers then he is clearly going at least partially in the right direction.