England shouldn't bother coming to Australia for the Magellan Ashes if controversial allrounder Ben Stokes is rubbed out, according to former Test star Kevin Pietersen.
Stokes has been dropped for Wednesday's fourth one-day international against West Indies after being arrested outside a nightclub in Bristol for allegedly being involved in a brawl.
But while he could be stripped of the vice-captaincy, the 26-year-old is likely to keep his spot for this summer's Test series after England's cricket director Andrew Strauss insisted the squad will be named "based on form and fitness" on Wednesday.
It would be a massive blow to their Ashes chances should England choose to impose a lengthy suspension on Stokes, who was arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm.
"If Stokes doesn't go to Aus, then England should just stay at home!," former England batting star Pietersen tweeted.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan backed Stokes to travel to Australia and keep the vice-captaincy.
But Vaughan criticised him for threatening the team's preparation for the five-Test series, starting in Brisbane on November 23.
"The facts are the England vice-captain was out at 2.30am, drinking two days before an England game and he has hit someone," Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.
"What this has done is cast a massive shadow over the England team at the worst time ... he could be charged.
"In Australia, he will be goaded from the moment he arrives."
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Vaughan said Stokes needs to "look himself in the mirror" and realise his high profile is likely to attract attention when he's out in public.
"In time we could be describing him as a cricketing genius," he wrote. "But he has to understand that if he wants to be a superstar, and go over to India and earn huge IPL contracts, and keep them, he has to be careful off the field.
"I am not saying be teetotal or not have a flutter at the casino. He needs a way to let off steam and live a life.
"But on the field he is a streetwise cricketer. He understands the game. He gets cricket. But he is not streetwise off the pitch and that could be his downfall. I am hoping this is his lesson.
"He has been close before … But now he has to look himself in the mirror and say enough is enough. If he doesn’t then something like this will happen again."
Another former Test skipper, Nasser Hussain, said Stokes' England teammates must play a role in looking out for the allrounder.
"You can be absolutely sure there will be someone in Australia out to make a name for themselves who will know what Ben is like and will try to wind him up," Hussain wrote for The Daily Mail.
"This is where the England team can come in. They are not just a team until 6pm or whenever a day's play ends.
"They are a team outside working hours too and have to try to look after Stokes."
Retired Australian batsman Michael Slater agreed a suspension for Stokes would be a huge blow.
"I certainly hope he's playing for England because I think he'll play well out here," Slater told Sky Sports Radio on Wednesday.
"I'd like to see him do a job for England just because it'll be competitive.
"He's a proper allrounder. He means a lot to England."
It's not the first time Stokes has been in trouble, having been arrested during a night out in 2011 and being sent home from a 2013 England Lions tour due to late-night drinking.
A year later, England lost him for the World T20 after he punched a dressing-room locker and broke his hand.
The England Cricket Board said Stokes was detained early on Monday but was released without charge in the evening.
Alex Hales, who was with Stokes at the time of his arrest, returned to Bristol in southwest England on Tuesday to help police with the investigation.
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21