Ben Stokes must 'grow up' says ex-England skipper

London (AFP) –


Ben Stokes must "grow up" or risk damaging his international career, former England captain Nasser Hussain has warned after the star all-rounder was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

The Durham player was Wednesday included in England's 16-man squad for the Ashes tour of Australia despite being dropped for the fourth one-day international against West Indies at The Oval following his arrest in Bristol early on Monday.

England national selector James Whitaker told the BBC that Stokes, who was released without charge but is under investigation, would remain in his position of vice-captain to Test skipper Joe Root.

But ex-England skippers Hussain and Michael Vaughan say the 26-year-old needs to take responsibility for his actions, especially with the high-profile Ashes tour looming.

"Ben Stokes has the world at his feet and is well on the way to becoming a very special -- not to mention very well-rewarded -- cricketer," Hussain wrote in the Daily Mail. "But he cannot keep flirting with the self-destruct button while getting himself into such damaging scrapes.

"It has reached the point where it could damage the career of a potentially great England cricketer. He has to learn to walk away or not put himself into an environment where this can happen."

"Ben Stokes has to grow up," he added.

"The bottom line is, for all the advice and support he will be receiving right now, it's down to him. He just has far too much going for him to throw it all away."

Stokes has found himself in trouble in the past.

He was arrested and cautioned in 2011 for obstructing police on a night out and sent home from an England Lions tour to Australia in 2013 for flouting a ban on late-night drinking,

Vaughan believes Stokes must learn to be streetwise off the field.

"Ben Stokes can't say he was not warned," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "People have said to him, 'There is only one person who can ruin your career and that is you. Nobody else.'

"In time we could be describing him as a cricketing genius. But he has to understand that if he wants to be a superstar, and go over to India, earn huge IPL contracts and keep them, he has to be careful off the field.

"On the field he is a streetwise cricketer. But he is not streetwise off the pitch and that could be his downfall. I am hoping this is his lesson."

Alec Stewart, another former England captain said "massive responsibility" comes with leadership.

"He just needs to learn and learn fast," he told BBC radio. "He's had a couple of hiccups when he was younger. Now he's just got to make sure we're not talking about this again in six months or even six years.

"There are some sympathies with Ben. He is a high-profile sportsman, he will be recognised, there will always be someone who wants a cheap shot but he has to make sure he reacts in the right way."