Brisbane, Dec 2 (IANS) England pace bowler Chris Woakes urged the England and Australian cricketers that the issues clouding both teams before the Ashes opener in Brisbane should not be part of on-field banter during the series.
England and Australia, both teams are dealing with racism and sexting scandals respectively that have sidetracked the cricket camps ahead of the Ashes.
England arrived in Australia as Azeem Rafiq detailed allegations of institutional racism he experienced at English captain Joe Root’s Yorkshire. Australia are facing their own set of problems after wicketkeeper Tim Paine quit as Australia captain before taking a leave of absence from the team following a sexting scandal that surfaced.
Woakes said, the Ashes rivalry naturally raised the stakes. But he said to use either issue as on-field banter, or sledging, would be out of line.
“No, they definitely aren’t [trivial matters]. What’s happened around both camps, a lot of those issues are personal. Cricket is played best when that sort of stuff is left to the side and you let your skills do the talking,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Woakes as saying on Thursday.
“I think what’s happened in both camps, a lot of the issues are personal and cricket is played best when that sort of stuff is left to the side and we let the skills do the talking,” he said, adding, “Whatever goes on the field, goes on the field, and the Ashes raises that rivalry. But in my experience, playing in three Ashes series, it’s not overstepped the line once when I’ve been around. I’m sure the cricket will be hard-fought, as it always is, and will be good to watch.”
Coming back from a mental health break that followed an injury-interrupted season, allrounder Ben Stokes hasn’t played any form of cricket since July, while his last Test match was in March.