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Aussie Skipper Smith Hails Stokes' Ability, Criticises Off-field Behaviour

Reuters |October 15, 2017, 5:38 PM IST
Aussie Skipper Smith Hails Stokes' Ability, Criticises Off-field Behaviour

New Delhi: Australia captain Steve Smith says England's Ben Stokes is "one of the best players" in the world but he cannot condone the behaviour that led to the all-rounder being arrested for an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub.

Stokes, 26, is England's vice captain and one of their most important players, but his participation in next month's Ashes series against Australia has been thrown into doubt after he was released under investigation following the incident.

Smith would not be drawn, however, on whether Stokes should be banned from playing in the series. "Whether he comes or not, that's out of our control," Smith told ABC Grandstand in his first public comments on Stokes' situation.

"You always want to come up against the best and test your skills against the best. That's what test cricket is all about. There's no doubt Ben Stokes is one of the best players around the world at the moment with the skills he brings to the game."

The five-test series starts in Brisbane on Nov. 23 and Smith said he hoped no Australian players ever found themselves in the same situation as Stokes.

"I certainly don't condone that kind of behaviour," he added. "Hopefully it never happens to one of our boys. I don't condone that type of behaviour. Let's hope we never cross paths with that."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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