Trevor Bayliss has criticised Ben Stokes’ “unprofessional” attitude after the England all-rounder’s arrest and subsequent release.
However, the England coach dismissed suggestions that the all-rounder would be stripped of the vice-captaincy.
Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday morning, though he was later released under investigation without charge.
The incident cast a shadow over England’s fourth ODI against West Indies today, with both Stokes and Alex Hales – who voluntarily returned to Bristol to aid police with their investigation – absent.
And though Bayliss was quick to criticise Stokes, the Australian was reluctant to commit to a team-wide curfew.
“We’ll be looking into [a curfew]. But I’ve been in teams before where we had curfews and that didn’t work either,” he said.
“I think that whichever way you go about it, the responsibility comes back on to the players.
“They’re adults. They’re professionals, and I thought the other night, a few guys being out was very unprofessional in the middle of a series.”
Stokes has been named in the squad for the upcoming Ashes tour despite concerns over a fractured hand received during the incident, with England director of cricket Andrew Strauss confirming that the Durham man is expected to be fit to take on Steve Smith’s side in Brisbane in the first Test on November 23.
Strauss did not confirm or deny reports that Stokes would no longer be England vice-captain, however, but Bayliss insisted that, for the time being, the 26-year-old would maintain that role.
“No one is trying to brush over anything,” Bayliss said.
“I’m sure there’ll be some investigations going forward, but at the moment I’m quite happy for him to be vice-captain.
“What he [Stokes] has shown so far – he’s a leader within the group when it comes to cricket. There’s no denying that.”
And former England captain Nasser Hussain added his voice to the situation, stating that Stokes could damage his career if he did not change his ways. Hussain stressed that Stokes could deny himself the opportunity to become an England great by habitually “flirting with the self-destruct button.”
Joe Root’s deputy has a history of off-field incidents and Hussain said he must learn to stay out of trouble.
“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. But he cannot keep flirting with the self-destruct button while getting himself into such damaging scrapes.”
He added: “Above all, Ben Stokes has to grow up. 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.”
Michael Vaughan was another England skipper to issue a warning to Stokes.
“Ben Stokes can’t say he was not warned. I have been privy to private conversations about him recently and he has been given strong warnings about his lifestyle.” Vaughan said in his Daily Telegraph column.
“People have said to him there is only one person who can ruin your career and that is you. Nobody else. He has the talent, plays all three formats relatively easily. Has the world at his feet.
“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 and earn huge IPL contracts, and keep them, he has to be careful off the field.
“I am not saying be teetotal or not have a flutter at the casino. He needs a way to let off steam and live a life. But on the field he is a streetwise cricketer. He understands the game. He gets cricket. But he is not streetwise off the pitch and that could be his downfall.”