Ashes 2023: England will not change attacking approach against Australia, says captain ben Stokes

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Ben Stokes leads out the England Test team in Pakistan
England have won 10 out of their last 12 Tests with Ben Stokes in charge

Ben Stokes says England will not alter their attacking approach when they take on Australia in the Ashes this summer.

England have won 10 out of 12 Test matches under captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, playing a bold and fearless brand of cricket.

That approach includes trying to force a result even if it risks defeat – something that will continue against Australia.

“I am not going to change anything just because it’s the Ashes,” said Stokes.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Stokes added: “Every single game that I play in this Ashes is going to be to force a result and that doesn’t matter what the score is, what the situation is. It won’t change. That wouldn’t be being true to myself.

“Every player knows that the Ashes is where everything just ramps up a bit, from pressure to exposure, but we’ll stick to what we do.

“I’ve been around long enough, so has Baz [McCullum] and our senior players to make sure those little things don’t creep into the dressing room.”

Stokes says he has asked the five Test venues to produce “fast, flat wickets” that will suit England’s batters, who play very aggressively and look to score as quickly as possible to put the opposition under pressure.

“We have been clear with the ground staff around the country about what we want and they have been really good,” said the Durham all-rounder. “We want fast, flat wickets because we want to score quickly and brings their guys in to the game too.”

Stokes says the attacking approach extends to the bowlers too, with veteran pace duo Stuart Broad, 36, and James Anderson, 40, buying into the philosophy.

“Jimmy and Broady were protective of their economy rates and they hate going for runs, they like tying batters down and working them out but now they’ve started to see it a bit differently,” said Stokes, who has played 91 Tests for England.

“Having those two, who are so skilful and have taken so many wickets between them, they now have that mentality and it will do good for us going forward if Australia do start taking the attack back on us.”

Stokes bowling ‘pain free’

Stokes says he is bowling “pain free” as he continues to manage a long-standing knee issue, but will not take any risks with his fitness leading up to the Ashes.

The 31-year-old had an injection in his left knee before departing to represent the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League last month.

He was initially expected to play as a specialist batter for the opening stages of the tournament but was able to bowl one over against Lucknow Super Giants last week.

“It has been a very frustrating year trying to manage this knee problem and not bowling much,” he said. “I have worked so hard over the last five weeks to get here. To be able to bowl pain-free – touch wood – has been great.

“Everything is going nicely and I am taking it step by step and not rush things too much because my number one priority is making sure I can be the fourth seamer in the Ashes.”


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