All-rounder and England vice-captain Ben Stokes may have put his part in England’s ashes tour in jeopardy following his arrest in the early hours of Wednesday morning having been involved in a street brawl in Bristol. Stokes maintains he was just preparing for an Australian summer.

Speaking after his arrest, Stokes said “An Australian tour is not all about batting and bowling. There’s the very real likelihood of getting a schooner in the face in some dive bar in Perth or a pool cue slapped across your head in a pub in Adelaide. So obviously you need to sharpen up your street fighting skills before going and spending a month there.

“Being an England cricketer makes you an easy target as people think you can’t see something being thrown at you from 20 yards away.”

Stokes, who was born in the small Australian state of New Zealand, continued “Obviously I’ve been getting in plenty of training with Durham by regular Saturday nights out in Darlington and Newcastle. Physical assault is different from region to region as well as country to country, that’s why me and Halesy took the chance to hone our skills in Bristol.”

Many cricket analysts pointed out that Stokes, as vice captain of England, can be seen as the opposite number of Australian vice-captain David Warner, who lamped Joe Root in a bar in Birmingham 4 years ago. Geoffrey Boycott said “It’s important not to hand an early psychological advantage to the Aussies. By sending a team vice-captained by a guy who’s already shown what he’s capable of in a fight, we’re letting the Australians know that any one of them might get laid out at an after game booze-up.”

Veteran commentator Henry Blofeld added “My dear old thing….. oh look! There’s a pigeon.”