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Opinion

‘Not the same Stokes’: Flintoff believes all-rounder has lost his aura since trial

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff believes Ben Stokes has “lost a bit of his aura” since being trialled for affray.

The Durham ace was cleared of the charge at Bristol Crown Court last month but he and fellow England international Alex Hales have both been charged by the ECB for bringing the game into disrepute after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub last September, with the duo facing a hearing in December.

Andrew Flintoff (R) is worried that the affray trial has affected Ben Stokes

Stokes returned to national duty for the final three Tests of England’s Indian summer, notching 173 runs and claiming eight scalps, but Flintoff believes his game has been lacking his trademark predatory instinct.

“You know when someone comes back and they lose a little bit of their aura and you’ve got to find it?” the Lancastrian said on the BBC podcast Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy.

“To me, I watch him play and it’s not the same Ben Stokes. There’s a bit of an unsureness about him. You’re aware of what people are thinking and that does rub off on you.

“You’re not just trying to win a game, you’re trying to win people over. He’s doing all right, but it’s not that Ben Stokes that we saw pre-trial. It takes a while to come back from, and I hope he does.”

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