Graeme Swann: Stokes made a mistake - but abuse of players has got out of hand

Ben Stokes
Graeme Swann believes that hardly anything happens when fans abuse players
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England will be looking to follow their thumping Test series victory with a similar set of results in three ODIs and Graeme Swann is hoping two of their best do not have anything hanging over them...

"Why do we not know his name? Why have we not seen his face in the newspapers? He should be ashamed - and he should be admonished as much as Ben Stokes is being. The bloke in the crowd is more culpable, if anything."

In case you missed them, make sure you check out my player ratings from England's brilliant Test efforts.

Stokes got it wrong - but he is not the problem here

Ben Stokes shouldn't have reacted to the abuse from the crowd in the way that he did because there were kids there, but let's face it, in the real world, if someone started having a go at you, you wouldn't just stand there meekly and take it.

I think the saddest thing was that he had to come out and apologise. I like what he said, apologising for using that language around the children who were present, but those same kids were exposed to that other bloke screaming abuse at Ben Stokes. Why do we not know his name? Why have we not seen his face in the newspapers? He should be ashamed - and he should be admonished as much as Ben Stokes is being. The bloke in the crowd is more culpable, if anything.

They always say that you should be a role model as a cricketer in that situation and it's up to you to stand there and say nothing back. But as soon as someone makes that case, it also says that it is okay for a member of the crowd to stand there and scream abuse at someone just because he is on the sports field. I think the focus of the whole conversation should change.

If someone shouts abuse at you and you have no right to reply, then something has got to happen to the person who has overstepped the line in the first place. But it never does. Nothing has ever happened to those people who shout out abuse in the crowd. It's an accepted part of sport now.

I was smart enough to field at second slip so I never really heard much of the abuse levelled at me, but personal abuse is never nice or very funny. The only time I genuinely laughed at something someone in the crowd said was in New Zealand. I wore the number 66, before Joe Root stole it off me, and someone in Christchurch shouted "hey Swanny, where's the other six, you beast?". Just the way he said "beeast" in a that Kiwi accent really tickled me!

Mo should look to excel with bat and ball in his preferred format

I don't think Moeen Ali should or will feel under pressure coming back into the international fold for the ODI series. Where he felt the pressure was in the Test cricket arena, which he didn't seem to like. He felt the burden of being expected to take those wickets and he didn't revel in those situations where as a spinner the team turn to you to win them Test matches. But if that is the case, then it's no bad thing that he wasn't playing the Test series.

Moeen Ali England Australia first Test 2019.jpg

But one-day cricket isn't the same sort of pressure cooker. In Test cricket, it feels like it is. You're playing the long game trying to work people and the pitch out; you're trying to play an extremely intense, prolonged game of chess. It's always on you for five straight days, where as ODIs just don't have that. You're trying not to get hit for four or six and you'll probably end up with two or three for 40 or so. I actually used to find it quite an unfulfilling format as a bowler. Of course you still have to bowl well and put the ball in the right places, but you don't need anywhere near the same patience level. The batsman will have to do something much sooner than he would in the red-ball game.

I think Mo will go well in this series because no-one has ever questioned his ability with the ball or the bat. It's just his thinking which hasn't suited Test cricket. Good on him for being honest about it, England seem to have found a spinner in Dom Bess who can do the job in the long form, and it's great to see Mo back in the ODI side.

If I want to see anything from him, I want to see him smash a hundred off about 50 balls because he's capable of that and I want to see him do it again - just like he did against the West Indies a couple of years ago.

See what happened when Graeme live traded a cricket match on the Exchange alongside Ed Hawkins...

Graeme Swann,

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