Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes looks set to be called into Ashes action this winter, according to The Sun
Stokes was a surprise call-up to the England squad for the ODI series against Australia recently but impressed with the ball in his sides 2-1 loss over five games.
It marks a big turnaround for the 23-year-old who was thrown off the Lions tour over the winter along with Kent bowler Matt Coles for excessive drinking.
The New Zealand born player initially made his name in County Cricket as a batsman who occasionally bowled some medium pace deliveries.
However, he worked on his bowling and can now hit speeds of 80mph.
The left-hander averages 14 with the bat in his 10 ODI appearances and 36 with the ball.
His first-class record is better, and that is what counts in the Test match arena; averaging 37 with the bat and 27 with the ball.
Stokes' main rivals for the plane to Australia appear to be Ravi Bopara and Chris Woakes as it looks as though only one will be considered.
England ODI coach Ashley Giles, who is also currently on the selection panel, has given his thoughts on the matter: “Throughout this one-day series, he’s been extremely mature. But we have to be aware they are still babes and we have to take care of them on and off the field.
“He’s a really exciting cricketer and there’s a lot more to come from him with bat and ball.
“He’s already one of the best fielders in the world – I know that’s a big call but he’s a terrific athlete. Those all-round skills put him in an elite market.
“When you can do the sorts of things that he can, you will be talked about across all forms of the game. We just need to be careful that we aren’t pushing them too hard — it takes time. But so far, so good on the report card.
“We did ask a lot of him as third seamer in this one-day but some of the stuff we’ve seen took us down that path.
“Ben reverses the ball both ways and bowls with pace – he bounced out Matthew Wade on Monday – and he is aggressive.
“His batting is extremely dangerous as he showed on occasions and there’s a lot more to come there. The guy is a genuine all-rounder.”
The squad is expected to be announced on Monday.
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