Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes says he will not be too disappointed if he doesn’t feature in the Ashes ahead of the final warm-up game before the opening Test in Brisbane.
The 2013 PCA Young Player of the Year is part of a 17-man squad that are stepping up their preparations this week in Sydney as England face an Australian Invitational XI on Wednesday and Stokes will be hoping for a chance to push his claim for a Test spot.
The number six batsman and right arm fast bowler scored four runs and claimed 1-74 in the match against the Western Australia Chairman’s XI in his first class debut for his country on the back of a hugely successful county season.
Stokes lifted the Division One County Championship trophy after scoring 615 runs and taking 42 wickets in his 13 matches for Durham under the stewardship of former England star Paul Collingwood.
Like Collingwood, Stokes has already starred for his country in the shorter format of the game after taking 5-61 and scoring 27 against Australia in a single ODI in September.
Despite being his county captain, Stokes has exclusively told GiveMeSport Collingwood didn’t give any thorough advice before he flew to Australia.
“Colly is not the sort of man to sit you down and tutor you but if he feels the need to have a chat with you and sort things out then he will and he’ll do it very well and he knows the time to do it.
“He hasn’t given me any fathering tips but he’s been a great guy to play under in the last season and if he can produce the same performances from the guys next year for Durham that will be great.
“He has said some nice things about me and it’s better than him saying I shouldn’t be on the plane but Colly has been around the England group for a while and he’s had a great career including winning a couple of Ashes series and now a club captain.”
Stokes has even been compared to the likes of Andrew Flintoff despite his tender age of 22. The explosive batsman can also bowl in the region of 90mph and he says being an all-rounder is an exciting position in the team.
“I’d say I’m a batting all-rounder but my bowling is improving all the time. Being an all-rounder is great because you’re always involved in the game with one suit or the other. My bowling probably outshone my batting for most of the season and that was a big learning curve batting wise so hopefully both things can come together now.
“I am definitely here to play, the experience itself is going to be brilliant to be a part of but obviously everyone wants to be in that starting 11 and with 17 of us here there is going to be six fellas that miss out.
“If I don’t get the opportunity to play then I’m not going to be too disappointed because I’ll be living the moment and getting to grips the fact I’m on an Ashes tour.”
Stokes has admitted he will miss his family which includes his fiancé Clare and son Layton who will both visit him down under around Christmas but admitted to GiveMeSport they are excited to travel to Australia.
“I will miss my family but with that they get to come out to Australia over Christmas which is brilliant, I have family who haven’t met Clare or Layton my little lad so I have some nice things to look forward to.
"Clare hasn’t been to Australia yet so I’m sure she’ll enjoy it but at the minute she seems too worried about the spiders but she’s looking forward to getting here.”
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