Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes is unlikely to play in the Ashes as England travel to Australia this week Getty

Former Australia bowler Mitchell Johnson has warned his side not to underestimate the England team without Ben Stokes in the Ashes.

Stokes was arrested on 26 September after an incident that saw him get involved in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub that left him with a broken finger.

The England all-rounder was held overnight and was later released, but is still under police investigation with footage showing him appearing to throw up to 15 punches.

Despite the incident, Stokes was initially named in England's Ashes squad. However, a statement afterwards read that he would not be travelling "at this stage" along with his teammates.

While there is no final decision as yet, with the visitors set to begin their preparations in Australia this week along with many calls for the Durham man not to be selected, it is likely that Stokes will ultimately miss out.

Johnson, who played a key role in helping the hosts destroy England 5-0 in the 2013/14 Ashes, believes Joe Root's side are still a threat, with or without Stokes.

"I don't think you can read too much into what people are commenting on 'no Stokes, no England'," Johnson said, as quoted on the BBC.

"I think England can win without him. I think at a contest at that high level, anyone can win.

"If you're Australia, you don't want to be thinking they can't win because Stokes isn't there - that can bite you in the backside pretty quickly."

Despite some inconsistent results in their Test matches, Johnson adds that he is confident of Australia's chances in the Ashes with their bowling options being a major threat.

"I'm still confident that Australia can win the series, but the performances recently haven't been great from both sides," Johnson explained.

"The wickets are a little bouncier and faster, so some of these new guys might find it harder, and that's where the Australian bowling attack is strong."