England news February 28, 2018

Stokes 'owes' England after missing Ashes - Steve Waugh

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ben Stokes picked up Colin De Grandhomme with a slower ball © Getty Images

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has said that Ben Stokes "owes" England following the fallout from the incident in Bristol last September which led to a charge of affray - which Stokes has pleaded not-guilty to - and meant he missed the Ashes.

Stokes returned to England colours in the first ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton, and almost helped conjure a victory with two late wickets, but Waugh believed the "circus" around his absence meant England were on the back foot in Australia before the series even started.

"It's been chaotic, a bit of a circus," he told Sky Sports at the Laureus World Sports Awards. "He certainly owes his team some good performances over the next couple of years because he really put them in a bit of a hole with the Australian tour, which was unsettling for the whole team.

"For Trevor Bayliss and Joe Root to answer those questions was wearing - it was tough on Root. I'm sure Stokes has learned his lesson from what has happened, he left England in an awkward position. It put them off kilter for the whole trip and they didn't really recover."

With England under scrutiny from the moment they arrived in Australia, their trip was further destabilised by the Jonny Bairstow 'headbutt' on Cameron Bancroft early in the tour at a Perth bar, which emerged towards the end of the first Test, and then Ben Duckett was reprimanded for throwing a beer over James Anderson's head in the same Perth nightclub.

"On any other tour they would have been non-events but they become magnified and all of a sudden you're dealing with problems every day which you don't need to," Waugh said. "It just became a bit of snowball effect for the team."

On the field in Australia, England failed to take their chances when they had moments of holding the edge in most of the Tests. Their pace attack particularly struggled to make an impact. Waugh said Stuart Broad was "below his best" but believed he and James Anderson, who led the attack manfully, still had plenty to offer.

"In New Zealand they will get much better conditions to bowl in, while I saw Anderson bowl last year in England and it was the best I've ever seen him bowl. When conditions suits and with the type of ball they use in England, I think those two are still a major force."