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Ashes 2023

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: Australia’s stumping of Jonny Bairstow wasn’t in the Spirit of Cricket | Ashes 2023

Rishi Sunak Ashes
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come out in support of Ben Stokes and echoed similar sentiments with regard to the controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

After England’s 43-run loss against Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, Stokes expressed his displeasure over the manner in which Bairstow was stumped by Alex Carey.

Stokes said that he would not have wanted to win a game of cricket in that fashion and would have thought hard about the spirit of the game instead while making an appeal for the dismissal, had he been on the opposite side of things.


He has now found support from none other than British Prime Minister Sunak, whose official spokesperson confirmed Sunak’s agreement with Stokes’ comments.

“The PM agrees with Ben Stokes – he said he simply wouldn’t want to win a game in the manner Australia did,” said the official spokesperson of Sunak when asked about the incident.

He went on to add that the Prime Minister felt that it was a great Test match, and that he is confident of England’s ability to bounce back at Headingley and in the series after being 0-2 down: “But the game did provide an opportunity to see Ben Stokes at his best and it was an incredible test match. He has confidence that England will bounce back at Headingley (in the Third Test).”

Sunak’s spokesperson also said that the Prime Minister felt that Australia’s actions were against the spirit of cricket.

Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell also voiced her support for England on the matter. She told The Evening Standard, “It was within the rules but not within the spirit,” referring to Bairstow’s stumping.

Stokes called Bairstow’s dismissal match-defining: “For Australia, it was the match-winning moment. Would I want to win a game in that manner? The answer for me is no.”

The incident led to a lot of discussions and debate around the spirit of the game. Opinions have ranged from an appreciation of Carey’s game awareness to demands of a public apology from Australia being voiced by prominent cricketers, both current and former.

The third Test of the series starts at Headingley after a short turnaround of three days.

You can bet on the 2023 Ashes with our Match Centre partners, bet365.

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