There seems to be no end to Pom duplicity when it comes to the whereabouts of their captain Ben Stokes, who is on his way to the southern hemisphere and it is widely thought that he is on his way to try and save England’s chances in the Ashes.

According to the ECB, “The ECB is aware that Ben Stokes is making a private trip to New Zealand to spend time with his family. His travel arrangements have not been arranged by the ECB. He is not on his way to the Ashes, England Lions or any other official training camps with the England set up.”

Convenient, is it not, that stokes happens to have family in New Zealand. Perhaps a third cousin by marriage, twice removed?

Most of the local journos are convinced that Stokes is going to wind up in Perth for the third Ashes Test. He was seen at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Controversy has embroiled the English cricket captain since he was arrested following a drunken late-night brawl at a pub in Bristol.

The ECB suspended him for two matches, so if he does play in Perth, his side might be in a 2 – 0 hole.

The ECB quickly denied that Stokes was headed to Australia and technically, New Zealand in not Australia, so rumourmongers have to mong hard to gin up something.

The picture of Stokes at Heathrow showed him lugging quite a bit of gear along with him and one of the bags looked just like the sort of thing one would expect to be packed with bats, but then, we may be as guilty of mongering as some of the other mongers.

Since the ECB denies making the travel arrangements for Stokes, is it possible he had to pay his own way? When he gets back, does he simply submit an expense report in order to be reimbursed, while the ECB’s white gloves remain unsullied?