Tony Wright: English cricket stoking the home fires - and it could well burn NZ cricket

  • 30/11/2017
Christchurch-born Ben Stokes in happier times.
Christchurch-born Ben Stokes in happier times. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: New Zealand Cricket doesn't exist to serve our former English masters, but you'd have thought so, given the not-so-secretive backroom dealings going on this week.

Ben Stokes is one of world cricket's greatest all-rounders, but he's also a drunken thug with a list of off-field misdemeanours as long as the sprawling tattoos on his arms.

Among other unsavoury incidents, he was arrested in 2011 for obstructing police while drunk, sent home from a tour to Australia in 2013 for breaking an alcohol ban and found guilty of driving over the speed limit four times in 2016.

He's currently under investigation by police for a violent assault in Bristol two months ago and could yet be jailed for the alleged crime.

So why is Canterbury Cricket rolling out the red carpet for this Christchurch-born prodigal son, who will never play for the country of his birth?

Sure, his parents live here and Stokes spent much of his early life living in the Garden City, where he learned to whack a cricket ball real hard.

But let's face it - the guy's a Pom and not a very nice one.

Canterbury Cricket has shown it is a rank amateur side during this whole sordid affair - why let him play?

Did it fall over itself to get a bit of coverage in the rabid Aussie cricket press?

CEO Jeremy Curwin fumbled his way through the painful process: "No, maybe, no, yes, Stokes has signed!"

Shame on you, Curwin, for letting this play out the way it has -  you should've put your foot down and stopped the charade before it started.

Or was Stokes already on the plane from England by then?

This is what will happen - England will convincingly lose the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, while Stokes will play a bit of one-day cricket for Canterbury.

Ahead of the third Ashes Test in Perth, Stokes, if he hasn't yet been charged with assault (part of which was captured on camera, by the way), will find himself recalled to an England squad tasked with resurrecting the series.

New Zealand and Canterbury Cricket will have played a major role in resurrecting Stokes' career, and giving England a chance to be competitive.

What do we get from England Cricket? They're actually touring here later this summer, and have allocated the Black Caps a pathetic two Test series in which to try and beat them.

England will play the Aussies in five Tests.

For a bloke who's offered nothing to the country of his birth, Stokes deserves next-to-nothing from it.

Instead, he's welcomed 'home' with open arms.

Watch out, if you're having a few beers in Christchurch this weekend - the nightlife just got a little more dangerous.

Go home, Ben Stokes - you're drunk.

Tony Wright is a senior producer and feature writer for Newshub.