BEN Stokes might be England’s talisman but he’s hurting the team by being in New Zealand according to England legend Darren Gough.

The 26-year-old all-rounder was not selected for England’s Ashes squad due to the ongoing investigation into a late-night altercation in Bristol in September but was granted a no objection certificate by the ECB to play in New Zealand.

Stokes, who will also visit family in the country of his birth, has linked up with Canterbury to play in the Ford Trophy.

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His arrival Down Under fuelled speculation that he could return to the England fold for the third Ashes Test and inevitably dominated talk in the build-up to the second in Adelaide.

However, Gough believes that has only served as a distraction to England and that Stokes would have been better served keeping a low profile.

“I don’t think we’ll see Stokes in the whole series, I honestly don’t,” said Gough, who joined die-hard fans from across London for a traditional British breakfast and a pint of Greene King IPA to celebrate the second test of The Ashes.

“I think it’s a weird one, him going to New Zealand. It’s a very strange one. I wish him the best, he’s a fantastic cricketer but I can’t see the ongoing case being dealt with in the next week.

“I said from the start that the best thing to do would have been to write him off for the Ashes and get him out there for the one-dayers. You’d hope after that break from the game he’d have had the chance to reflect what’s happened over the last two or three months.

“It’s an odd decision to go to New Zealand. If he’d gone to Bangladesh to play in the T20 series, I’d have understood that.

“To be in New Zealand where it’s so easy for the media to nip over there from Australia, it can be pretty distracting.

“All the players have been asked about it as well so it’s a strange decision to get there a day before the second Test match which has been distracting in the press conferences. I think it took England by surprise. I think they were surprised by it all.”

England were well-beaten in the first Test in Brisbane without Stokes, struggling to take wickets in Australian conditions.

For Gough, who took 41 wickets at an average of 27 in Australia, the key to making breakthroughs Down Under is to be aggressive, particularly early in the innings.

Australian skipper Steve Smith was a particularly tough nut to crack, scoring a brilliant hundred in the ten-wicket success at the Gabba.

And for England to retain the Ashes, Gough insists they must be ready to gamble and be willing to be hit for runs.

He added: “In Australia, you need pace. The ball swings in the first 20-22 overs. In England, it can swing all day. So, with the new ball you must attack the stumps.

“That was the one thing I’m critical of England for in the first Test. They bowled too wide. You’ve got to risk getting hit through the leg side.

“If you give Steve Smith too much width he’ll leave it and get his eye in. You’ve got to bowl with discipline at times, but it’s important to be aggressive. That’s one of the reasons I did well over there. “The Australians are good in their conditions, they like the cut, they like the pull so you’ve got to be aggressive in the lines you bowl.

“It doesn’t mean bowling short, you have to be aggressive in bowling a full length. You’ve got to hit the pitch hard, if you hit the pitch hard and don’t be afraid to make them play, then you’ve got a chance.”

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