October 29, 2017 / 11:27 AM / in a year

Joe Root ready to be sledged by Australia over Stokes

(Reuters) - England captain Joe Root said his team are prepared to be sledged by Australia during the Ashes series, especially over Ben Stokes’ absence in the touring squad.

Cricket - England - England Press Conference - Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, Britain - October 27, 2017 England's Joe Root Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

All-rounder Stokes was arrested last month after an incident on a night out in Bristol following a one-day international, and released without charge, but remains under police investigation.

England arrived in Perth on Sunday without the suspended Stokes, who could join up with his team mates later on but Root suggested the hosts would not let his men forget about the reasons behind their vice-captain’s absence.

“Potentially they might (sledge us about Stokes),” Root told a news conference. “But Ashes cricket - there’s always an edge of psychological banter.

“Once you’ve played in a few, you know what to expect and you know how it goes leading up to the games. I’m sure there will be plenty of banter flying around on and off the field.

“That’s something you’ve got to cherish and relish and be able to look back on at the end of your career and say, ‘I gave it my best shot, and I enjoyed it’.”

Stokes is a vital part of the team and key to England’s hopes of avoiding a repeat of a humiliating 5-0 whitewash on their last trip to Australia four years ago.

“We’ve got to plan as if he’s not going to be here and give ourselves the best chance.”

England begin their preparations for the series with a two-day tour match against Western Australia XI at the WACA Ground starting on Saturday.

They will then take on Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide and Townsville before the first test starts on Nov. 23 in Brisbane.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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