Show some leadership and send Ben Stokes home, says Steve Harmison

The defending champions are out of the World Cup after suffering six losses

By Web Desk
November 06, 2023
Steve Harmison (L) wants England Cricket to send Ben Stokes (R) back. — X/AFP

Former England pacer Steve Harmison stated that the England cricket team should show some leadership and send the all-rounder Ben Stokes home from the ICC World Cup 2023.

Harmison's statement came after Stokes revealed that he will undergo surgery after England's World Cup campaign ends and their tournament is over but the decision on the 32-year-old is yet to be taken.

England play a five-match Test series against India which starts from January 25.

The former pacer believed that it is time Stokes fly back to home as with England's campaign already done, it makes no sense to keep him in India.

“I am amazed Ben is still in the country, I don’t see any point in him being there,” Harmison told the PA news agency.

“I’m sure that conversation has been had but it needs strong leadership. It needs someone to say, ‘Ben, you’re going home. Here’s a ticket, there’s the plane, get on it’.

“I think Rob Key, as director of cricket, should probably take that decision and if I was (Test coach) Brendon McCullum I’d be doing everything I could to encourage him. I’ve got a good relationship with Ben and I know for a fact he won’t thank me for saying this, but I’m saying it because it’s what is best for the England cricket team," he added.

Harmison then argued that Ben Stokes is the most important person in England's Test cricket team's setup and they cannot risk losing him over a tournament that has already ended for them.

“The single most important person in that Test setup is Ben Stokes. They need their leader and that’s why he has to go home,” said Harmison, who is commentating in India for Star Sports.

“This tour is going to be twice as hard as the Ashes given the conditions, so he’s going to be more important than ever.”

It must be noted that England are out of the World Cup after losing six matches but they are still alive in the 2025 Champions Trophy qualification. Jos Buttler's men need to win their remaining two matches with a decent net run rate (NRR) and they can make their case to qualify for the 2025 ICC event.