Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton give advice to Ben Stokes after clash with South Africa fan

England all-rounder Ben Stokes clashed with a South Africa fan (Picture: Sky Sports)

Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton have told Ben Stokes to ‘bite his tongue’ in the face of abuse after the England all-rounder clashed with a South Africa fan in Johannesburg.

England World Cup and Ashes hero Stokes was furious after being dismissed for two on day one of the fourth Test at the Wanderers and swore at a supporter as he left the field.

Stokes was caught in the slips off the bowling of Anrich Nortje as England slipped from 107-0 to 157-4, before closing day one in a healthy position on 192-4.

Following the incident, former England captains Hussain and Atherton said Stokes was wrong to react and should have ignored any goading that was directed at him.

Atherton said: ‘I don’t condone any abuse – either supporters to players or players back. You’ve got to hold your tongue.

‘The players know the regulations under which they are playing. We can disagree with them.

‘It’s a grown-up game and you hear bad language from time to time but the regulation is that if bad language is heard on the field of play from players then the match referees are going to step in.’

Hussain added: ‘Spot on. All I’d say is it’s easy to be cool in a commentary box but when someone is abusing you sometimes you lose the plot.

‘Everyone wants a piece of Ben Stokes, good and bad. You’ll go to breakfast in the hotel and nearly every England fan will go up to Ben and say really nice things to him, at the airports too – because of the year he has had.

‘Then you see the other side of it, the bad side, when he’s walking off, a South African fan will have a go at him and it’s part of the game. You’re just going to have to suck it up. But it’s easy for us to say.

‘He probably regrets it now. There’s no mileage in it; you can’t win. You’re going to have to bite your tongue.’

More to follow…


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