I certainly don't condone Stokes' behaviour: Smith

ANI | Updated: Oct 16, 2017 13:17 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], Oct 16 (ANI): Australia skipper Steve Smith has refused to celebrate the likely absence of start England all-rounder Ben Stokes from the Ashes series.

Stokes was withdrawn from the Ashes squad in the wake of pending investigation into his alleged street brawl in Bristol last month.

The Test vice-captain was named in the England's original Ashes squad, despite injuring his hand in the incident that led to his arrest in Bristol on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. Hales was with Stokes at that time.

Though Stokes was released without charge, but he remained under police investigation.

Choosing his words wisely on the issue, Smith admitted that Stokes is "one of the best players" in the world, but he could not condone the behaviour that led to the all-rounder being arrested for an altercation outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol.

"Whether he comes or not, that's out of our control. You always want to come up against the best and test your skills against the best. That's what Test cricket is all about. There's no doubt Ben Stokes is one of the best players around the world at the moment," ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith, as saying.

Smith, who played with Stokes for the Rising Pune Supergiants in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), said that he hopes no Australian players ever found themselves in the same situation as Stokes.

"I certainly don't condone that kind of behaviour. Hopefully it never happens to one of our boys," he added.

In Stokes' absence, Steven Finn was roped into the squad as Stokes' replacement for the full five-match Test series.

The much-awaited Ashes series will begin at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 23. (ANI)