Australia vice-captain David Warner has slammed suspended English all-rounder Ben Stokes for "letting a lot of people down" with his behaviour outside a nightclub in Bristol in September. Warner who recently suffered an injury scare when the batsman twinged his neck during practice while taking a high catch at the Gabba.
Warner, however, praised Stokes as a fierce competitor on the field and said he would have loved to face the Englishman during the upcoming five-match Ashes Test rubber, starting here on Thursday.
"I think it's probably disappointing for the England team and the country. I think he's let a lot of people down. I would have loved for him to be out here, because I know what a competitor he is on the field, and he's a world-class player," said Warner, as media reports suggest.
Stokes was withdrawn from England's Ashes squad following his arrest in Bristol on September 25. According to footage circulated, it showed him swinging punches at two men in an alley outside a nightclub at 2.30 a.m.
Stokes' participation in the Ashes now depends on the English police, who are investigating the incident.
"It's obviously up to the English police first. But at the end of the day he knows he's made a mistake, and it's about him getting the respect back from his players and fellow countrymen," Warner said.
"If he does come out here we wish him well and hopefully he brings the fieriness that he does to the competition and to the cricket".
"I wish everyone well. We're all sportsmen. We're trying to achieve the same thing and that's to win. So I wish everyone good luck," the southpaw added.
The Ashes start on Thursday with the first game to be played at the Gabba here followed by the historic second day-night Test, starting December 2-6 at Adelaide.
The third match will be played from December 14-18 at Perth while the Boxing Day match will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the final Test from January 4-8 in Sydney.