Cricket Australia director Mark Taylor has suggested that picking Ben Stokes for the Ashes will be "very difficult" for the ECB after video footage of his alleged brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol emerged. The video, obtained by the Sun, shows a man closely resembling Stokes throwing multiple punches at two men.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for the ECB to send Stokes to Australia," Taylor told Channel Nine. "Having said that I'm not going to be too judgmental on Stokes because I don't know the events of the night.
"I have no doubt that there was probably a lot of hassling going on at the time. But I think the video evidence that we've all seen is going to make it very difficult for the English side to pick him."
A day after his arrest, Stokes was included in England's Ashes squad, but was subsequently replaced by fast bowler Steven Finn, although he was not ruled out of the tour completely. The ECB, in its statement, said Stokes will not be considered for national selection until an ongoing police investigation is concluded.
"I've always thought it takes two to tango but when you're any person you can't deal with it that way," Taylor said. "Particularly when you're in the public eye, you're in a no-win situation there.
"All you can really do in that situation is get out of there. Remove yourself from the situation. I think that's what he has to do in the future and that's what I would be telling him if I were his captain, coach, father, whoever."
Taylor's comments on Stokes were firmer than those made by Australia captain Steven Smith last week, when he said he could not condone Stokes' actions, but was careful not to get drawn into a debate over his availability.
Taylor also said Stokes' absence will have a significant impact on England's team combination for the Ashes. "He does bring something to England that Australia don't have at the moment, that genuine allrounder at No. 6," Taylor said.
"I remember him making a hundred in Perth four years ago. I think he showed us then what he can do in this country and in recent times we've seen him take some very useful wickets. He's one of those guys that can change a Test match with the bat or the ball and they are rare characters."