A CRICKET legend has accused the England management of “failing” Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes after his late-night arrest earlier this year.

Geoffrey Boycott said he was “sad and disappointed” after the England vice-captain was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm outside a Bristol nightclub – leaving him almost certain to miss out on this winter’s Ashes series in Australia.

Former Yorkshire captain Boycott also said he would like to see more Test cricket brought to the region to stop the format dying out.

Speaking to The Northern Echo about the Durham all-rounder, the BBC Test Match Special commentator said: “There is nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks.

“I am not a drinker, but a young fit athlete having two or three pints will actually help them replace the fluids they have lost, and they will run them off the next day.

“You are entitled to enjoy yourself, but when you have a lot, that is not so good.

“I have always felt that you can’t play any top sport without sleep – that is the main point – you need sleep to play top sport.

“The management failed him – it is up to them to coach and manage – they don’t score runs and take wickets.

“They should have given him boundaries – football and rugby players don’t go out for more than two or three pints.”

Earlier this week, England coach Trevor Bayliss said he had written off any likelihood that Stokes will play a part in this winter’s Ashes.

Mr Boycott was speaking ahead of his visit to the North-East next week, where he will be hosting an Evening With at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium in Yarm.

“I would like to see more (Test cricket) in the North-East,” he said.

“England should have it all over the country – it belongs to England not just one area.

“The counties shouldn’t have to bid against each other – the games should be spread all over so people have a chance to see the England team.

“If they (the ECB) want the money, play every game at Lords and The Oval – they would get more money and more people.

"But the game would be dead.”

Last year, Durham agreed a £3.8m bail-out with the ECB – bringing with it stringent conditions including relegation from Division One of the County Championship and a 48-point penalty at the start of this summer.

“It is not just Durham – Yorkshire have debts of £24.9m and Warwickshire have £30m,” said Mr Boycott.

“The problem is there are not enough quality cricketers to make 18 quality teams.

“It is sad – I love the County Championship, but there is not enough money or quality to sustain it.”