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England pace bowler James Anderson believes that all-rounder Ben Stokes could be able to provide crucial information on Australia captain Steve Smith ahead of the Ashes later this year.
Stokes is currently playing alongside Smith for the Rising Pune Supergiants at the Indian Premier League (IPL).
With Stokes having full access to Smith, Anderson feels that the 25-year-old could pinpoint certain weaknesses that the Australian skipper has.
“Playing in the IPL can only benefit the English guys because they’re playing with and against some of the best players in the world and can tap into that knowledge that they’ve got,” Anderson said. “Maybe Ben Stokes can get some inside information for us on Steve Smith for the Ashes! Hopefully Ben isn’t giving too much away to Steve about himself!
“The more cricket you play with someone and the more you watch them, the more you pick up little things about their technique or something that could give you the edge over them when you come up against them in a Test match.”
Meanwhile, Anderson also reiterated that he is confident Joe Root will excel as England’s Test captain.
“I think he’ll do really well,” Anderson said. “He’s dealt with everything that’s been thrown at him in his international career so far really easily and comfortably.
“He’s an exciting cricketer and he’s positive as well; I think he’ll bring that to his captaincy – he’ll be positive and attacking in the field, and hopefully it will benefit his batting as well.
“You don’t want somebody to lose their personality just because they become captain; there will obviously be times when he needs to be serious but it helps having a sense of humour, certainly in a dressing room environment when it can be high pressure at times; lightening the mood is a good thing.
“He’s still young and he’s got his immature side, which is his jokey side, but I think this will help him; he’s just become a father as well, which will help him mature.
“When he bats he bats with a lot of maturity but I hope that he doesn’t lose that jovial side because that’s what makes him the player he is.”