Ashley Giles has revealed concerns that Ben Stokes’ growing fame is being “used against him” after rejecting allegations of an altercation between the player and his wife.
On Tuesday afternoon the Media Guido blog published pictures of an alleged physical confrontation between the couple during the Professional Cricketers’ Association awards ceremony at the Roundhouse.
Clare Stokes quickly rubbished claims of violence in a Twitter post, while the England all-rounder issued a firm rebuttal to the Daily Mirror, in which he labelled the story “totally irresponsible” and damaging to victims of domestic abuse.
Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other’s faces cos that’s how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later! @benstokes38 pic.twitter.com/1HmPV1ZfxG
— Clare Stokes (@clarey_11) October 8, 2019
It has also emerged that Stokes and his mother are launching legal action against The Sun following a front-page story on a family tragedy that occurred more than 30 years ago.
Giles, managing director of the England men’s team, checked in with the pair this week and his only worries involved the increasing spotlight the 28-year-old finds himself under following a summer that saw him light up the World Cup and the Ashes with historic performances.
“I was pretty sure as soon as I saw the story there was nothing in it but it was great to speak to both of them,” said Giles.
“They were obviously concerned. We can all say domestic violence is a really serious issue and we’re not making light of that at all but in this case it’s a very happy couple having some fun – a picture telling a thousand words but just the wrong ones.
“I think it’s just a worry in some sense, as to how his profile can be used against him and how susceptible they are as a family to this. The bigger your profile the more difficult it can become.”
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Interest in Stokes will be high again when he returns to the country of his birth, New Zealand, later this year and with a Twenty20 World Cup and an away Ashes series all on the horizon, things show no signs of slowing up.
England may well give some thought to how they might ease the burden on their star man and Giles is willing to do so if he can.
“I think everything is ramped up for all these guys now. Success, money…it brings more pressures and they are certainly far different from what we experienced when I played,” he said.
“There’s a lot of good stuff they get but a lot of negative stuff too. Part of my job is to protect them from that. How you do that I’m not sure, you can’t always watch them and their families 24 hours a day, but we’re certainly there for them. Player welfare and support is a big thing for us going forwards.”
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