England set to lose Ashes, with or without Stokes: Blewett

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03 Oct 2017 08:16 AM IST

ADELAIDE: An Ashes series shorn of Ben Stokes would be a great shame for cricket but England are heading for defeat with or without the troubled all-rounder, former Australia batsman Greg Blewett has said.

Test vice-captain Stokes and opener Alex Hales have been suspended from international cricket indefinitely, pending an investigation into an altercation outside a nightclub in Bristol last week.

Blewett, who struck a century on his Test debut during the 1994-95 Ashes series, cast doubt on Stokes's chances of playing a full part in the series.

"I'm sure they will (sanction him). They are having their internal investigation.

That will play out," Blewett, a 46-Test right-handed batsman, told Reuters in an interview in Adelaide on Tuesday.

"It would be a shame if he's not out here.

I think everyone wants to play against the strongest possible team.

"It would be a shame if he doesn't come out because he's a bit of a drawcard, he's a world class all-rounder and will leave a massive hole in their team.

"But even if he was (to come), I think Australia are going to be too good at home anyway.

With or without Ben Stokes I don't see a different result but I think England would love to have him in their side.

The Sun newspaper published footage of what it said was a brawl between the player and two other people, one clutching a bottle.

The authenticity of the images could not be verified by Reuters.

Blewett, who was Australia's fielding coach until stepping down in August, has taken on assistant roles with Sheffield Shield side South Australia and the Adelaide Strikers in the 'Big Bash' domestic Twenty20 competition.

Also coach of South Australia's men's under-19 side, Blewett said he would take a dim view of any player out drinking in the early hours of the morning and days before a match.

"Yeah, you would be disappointed, I think they were only a couple of days away from the next one-day international so I think any coach would be disappointed with that sort of behaviour.

The Stokes incident has revived the debate as to whether curfews should be enforced during series, but Blewett said he was against such measures.

The potential absence of Stokes would heap further pressure on England's bowlers and a batting order featuring players like opener James Vince and Dawid Malan who are yet to establish themselves.

Blewett said Australia and the team's formidable pace attack led by Mitchell Starc would provide the toughest of initiations.

"Two or three of those guys in the squad haven't had a great start to their careers," he said.

"It's not going to get any easier when they come out here.

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