Image courtesy of: The Guardian
“He can bowl at 90mph and can bat at six, it’s a no-brainer for me”
Legendary England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has announced that picking newcomer Ben Stokes for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane would be “a no-brainer for me”.
Stokes has been branded as the best all-rounder England have produced since Flintoff.
“I’d play him, I’d have him in the team,” Flintoff told Sky Sports. “He can bowl at 90mph and can bat at six, it’s a no-brainer for me.
“Over there the bowlers have to earn their wickets and just having that other seamer who can bowl to give Jimmy (James Anderson) a rest, give (Stuart) Broad a rest and whoever the other one may be (the third seamer) is invaluable.
“And he can bat, I’d get him in straight away.”
England have constantly stuck with six batsmen, wicketkeeper Matt Prior and four bowlers, but Flintoff once again reiterated his point, stating that the national selectors would be making a huge mistake by not giving Stokes a chance to prove his worth.
“I think they’ve got to give someone a go at it and I’d give Stokes a go,” Flintoff said. “Everything’s about confidence, the people around him can put faith in him. Going out there and starting well in the warm-up games can give him confidence going into the series. He’s good enough to do well so I’d get him in.”
Flintoff also reckons that the upcoming Ashes series won’t be as one-sided as the previous one this summer, which England won 3-0.
“You look at the two sides and England should win,” he said. “But Australia have got better over the last few months. Appointing Darren Lehmann as coach has been a mastermind decision. He’s doing a great job.
“England haven’t been as good as they thought, or could be. On paper you think England have got to win it. But it will be closer than everyone thinks.”