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“If I didn’t feel like I was ready then I would be taking a long hard look at myself”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has a burning ambition to makes his Ashes debut during the second Test in Adelaide, but he knows that he will have to impress the entire team and support staff during the two-day warm-up match against the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI in Alice Springs if he is to even be considered for selection.
Stokes is now locked in a battle against Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow as the trio are all looking to occupy Jonathan Trott’s spot on the roster after he returned home with a stress-related illness.
“Everyone is going to go out there and make sure they put their hand up and prove a point that they want to be out here and be in that second Test match,” Stokes said. “Whoever does take that role will definitely have the skills to come in and fill that spot. Whoever it is, if it’s not me or whoever else it is, I wish them all the best.”
While Stokes has an advantage over his rivals with the fact that he can also bowl, the 22-year-old stated that at the end of the day, it is up to captain Alastair Cook and team director Andy Flower to decide who will be included in the squad.
“Being an all-rounder does help, you’ve got two strings to your game, but at the end of the day it’s up to Cookie and Andy who they want to come in,” he said. “There’s probably three guys who’ve got the chance to try and get into that number six. Whether it’s me or not, Gary or Jonny, but we’ve got this next two days to go out there and really put our hands up and try to get into there.”
Stokes added that he would not let the pressure of playing in an Ashes series overwhelm him if he were selected for the second Test, which gets underway on December 5.
“If I thought to myself ‘I’m not ready for this’ then I think I’ll be looking at it the wrong way,” he said. “It’s what every cricketer wants to be a part of which is an Ashes series, an Ashes Test match and if I didn’t feel like I was ready then I would be taking a long hard look at myself.”