Ben Stokes should be banned from playing for England, relatives of punch ‘victim’ say
The relatives of a soldier who served in the Afghanistan war and was injured in a nightclub brawl with Ben Stokes have said the cricketer should be barred from ever playing again for his national team.
Six days after the England vice captain was arrested following a fracas in Bristol, family members of Ryan Hale, who served in The Rifles, accused the sportsman of “disgraceful” behaviour.
Their comments follow a week of turmoil in English cricket, which has so far seen Stokes and his teammate Alex Hales suspended by the English Cricket Board weeks before the England team is due to fly to Australia for the Ashes.
Both players are the subject of an ongoing police investigation after footage emerged last Wednesday which appeared to show Stokes repeatedly striking two men outside the Bristol’s Mbargo [CORRECT] nightclub.
Hales, who is also the subject of intense speculation after a series of allegedly compromising and lewd photographs were posted online, is also expected to be questioned under caution over allegations he kicked a man who was lying on the ground.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the relative of Hale, told of the family’s pride they felt for the former soldier who had “served his country” with a tour of Afghanistan before leaving the Army in 2013.
“He’s a loving dad and a proper family man,” the woman said. “He’s got a little boy… he wouldn’t instigate a fight eve..
“He’s a trained soldier, he’s been to Afghanistan, he knows better than that. But, he knows how to handle himself.
“It’s quite shocking. I don’t think he’s said much to anybody. You wouldn’t expect that kind of behaviour.”
Asked whether the 26-year-old cricketer should be allowed to represent England, she simply said “No.”
Ryan Hale, former soldier who served
in Afghanistan Credit: Facebook/Facebook
She welcomed the ECB’s decision to suspend him, adding: “He should not be allowed to just carry on as if nothing has happened.”
Her comments were echoed by Mr Hale’s mother, who told The Telegraph that her son was not an “aggressive type” and that the conduct of Stokes and Hales “isn’t okay”.
Speaking at her home in Westbury-On-Trym, Bristol, Angela Hale, 53, said: “Obviously he is not okay and it is not something that happens on a daily basis. He’s not an aggressive type.
“He’s not actually with me at the moment. It’s up to the police investigation now. I don’t know what happened, I just knew that there was a fracas and I’ve seen the video.”
Meanwhile, Maureen Sharp, 72, a neighbour of Mrs Hale said that her son was a “nice lad” who “would never look for trouble”.
“From what I know he wasn’t looking for trouble at all, he was trying to break up the fight,” she said.
Their comments are likely to fuel the growing bitterness towards Stokes, who was fiercely criticised by ex-teammates and former England internationals earlier this week when another video emerged showing him mocking the disabled son of TV personality Katie Price.
The controversy has raised questions about his future in the sport, amid fears that he could face losing more than £1.7m in sponsorship and advertising funding if he is charged next week.
The furore has already seen the brewer Greene King pull an advert featuring the 26-year-old, with a company spokesman confirming that the ad, called the ‘The Knockabout’, would no longer be shown.