Ben Stokes says he’s taken the necessary steps to put himself in the frame for Test selection for England.
Sent home from Australia by the England Lions last summer for breaking curfew, allrounder Ben Stokes is back with a new attitude and is charging towards a possible Test debut in Adelaide next week.
The 22-year-old said on Thursday it had been an easy decision to knuckle down and do what England coach Andy Flower had asked and prove that he was on the right track.
Stokes is one of three batsmen vying for a place in the touring team for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide following the return home of Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness.
And the seamer has a big chance to impress England’s management in the two-day game against the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI starting in Alice Springs on Friday.
“A lot’s been said about that, but when I did get back, I set my mind on putting everyone (else’s) minds right,” Stokes told a news conference.
“Making sure that they knew I did want to play for England and get back in the team. I think I’ve done the right things and gone about it the right way and here I am today.
“Three guys who have the chance to get into that number six. Whether it’s me, or Gary Ballance or Jonny Bairstow, but we’ve got the next two days to go out there and put our hand up.”
Stokes says he’s not proud of being sent home, but it was a big wake-up call.
“I did set myself out to change it all around and get Andy Flower thinking this guy’s serious in what he wants to do,” Stokes said.
“You put in the hard work and you get rewards.
“I looked at the bigger picture and thought I’m in this profession to play at the highest level.
“So it wasn’t hard to go away to make sure that I did those things because if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Kiwi-born Stokes says England playing Australia is the pinnacle.
“It’s what every cricketer wants to be a part of – an Ashes series – and if I didn’t think I was ready, I’d be taking a long, hard look at myself,” he said.
Stokes says just sitting on the bench and running out drinks at the Gabba in last week’s first Test gave him a buzz.
“The intensity was really high,” the veteran of 10 one-day internationals said.
“It was a great experience and something I’ll never forget.”
England are considering naming two wicketkeepers on Friday, with Matt Prior to play as a batsman only after scoring four runs in Brisbane.