Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Decision Disappoints Botham

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stokes Decision Disappoints Botham

Article excerpt

SIR Ian Botham has criticised the decision to leave Ben Stokes out of England's Twenty20 match at his home ground.

Stokes will take a rest when England host West Indies in a one-off T20 international on September 16 at Chester-le-Street, home of the allrounder's county side Durham. But Botham, Durham's chairman, believes it is the latest "kick in the teeth" for the county who were relegated from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship and docked 48 points for the current season in October last year after accepting a financial bailout from the ECB.

"Ben Stokes being stood down from the T20 international on his home ground has left me bitterly disappointed,"' Botham wrote in his Mirror column. "The ECB has decided that a T20 match for the world's most exciting player - and a local hero to boot - is a game too far so he won't be able to show his skills to the people of the North East.

"Ben has never played an international match in front of his home crowd at Chester-le-Street and I know thousands of spectators were hoping to see him in an England shirt live for the first time.

"And after the time that we've had here, with the club being docked 48 points as well as all the rest, you do start to wonder why there has been another kick in the teeth.

"The ECB have said, 'It was a collective decision between the management and the player in that Ben needed a break and it is just unfortunate that it is a one-off T20 at Durham'. Well, I don't believe for one minute that Ben wouldn't want to play in front of his home crowd.

"He is an ECB centrally contracted player and they decide when he plays and when he doesn't and that is fine. I am just bitterly disappointed for the public of the North East."

HASEEB Hameed's unbeaten 85 halted Championship leaders Essex's charge as Lancashire rallied at Old Trafford.

Hameed hit his top score for the season as the hosts recovered from 92 for six to 222 for eight at the end of day two. …

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