English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who had an incredibly successful and memorable summer in international cricket, finds himself in a new controversy. An online blog called Guido Fawkes published a story with photographs claiming that the cricketer assaulted his wife during a party organised by Professional Cricketers Association on Wednesday last week.
A couple of pictures show the star performer for England in the recently-concluded Ashes series grabbing the throat of his wife in what the blog called a 'chokehold.' The story was published on October 8. But the allegations have been outrightly denied by both Mr and Mrs Stokes.
Clare, wife of Ben, wrote on Twittter: "Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other's faces cos that's how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!"
The all-rounder himself issued a statement to Mirror decrying the claims made about him assailing his wife.
"I have become used to people making stuff up about me, but of all the topics not to mess with domestic abuse has to be at the top of the list. We have a wonderful relationship and I never tire of saying how lucky I am to be with her. We both had a great night at the PCA Awards, ending with us dining out at McDonald's together."
According to the blog, the Stokes couple were enjoying drinking champagne at the party before Ben said something to which, apparently, his wife responded by raising her hand in a gesture of 'I don't want to hear it.' This scene is also caught on camera. Following this, the story goes, the husband and wife went to a different room and started talking there.
And that's where the left-handed batsman is pictured with his hand on the neck of his wife. However, another picture, taken a few minutes later, shows the Stokes' sitting comfortably in a black cab which took them to a McDonald's restaurant.
At the moment, it is hard to say what the truth is. The pictures do suggest some disagreement between Stokes and his wife but then, just on that basis, to assume that they had a big row which resulted in an act of physical aggression is also risky.
Recently, the couple also celebrated the birthday of Clare in a weekend of partying which she described as planned by her husband. Mrs Stokes made a statement on Twitter, pointed directly at the people who published the controversial report.
"Had the most amazing birthday weekend! Ben planned it all as a surprise! Got all my best friends and family there including flying people over from America and Australia! It was an incredible night and I'm so grateful to Ben for organising! Not gonna let some idiots ruin my 30th," she said on her Twitter handle.
For the moment, we have to accept what the Stokes' are saying. Until there is some other evidence to support an alternative opinion.