England Test skipper Ben Stokes wants to add a fresh threat to the aggressive game-plan when Australia tour for the Ashes this summer as he has demanded “fast, flat wickets”.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Stokes said that he has asked the five Test venues to produce fast, flat wickets that will suit England’s batters to score as quickly as possible and to put the opposition under pressure.
“We’ve been very clear, especially with the ground staff around England, about what type of wickets we want. And they’ve been very responsive to us which has been good,” Stokes said.
“We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly. It brings their (Australia’s) guys in: if they’ve got fast wickets to bowl on then they’ll be happy with that as well,” he added.
The English skipper stated that England will maintain their aggressive style of play during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia and will not make any changes to their approach.
England has scored at a dazzling 4.76 runs an over in Tests since Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum started leading the team last year under an approach known as ‘Bazball’.
“I am not going to change anything just because it’s the Ashes. 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,” Stokes said.
“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,” he said.
Stokes wants England to also target heated rivals Australia with express pace even in conditions typically suited to seamers, while also revealing that he already has a line-up in mind.
“I think I know what the starting XI is going to be, there or thereabouts. Having the option to bowl above 90mph, any captain wants that. When it comes to that first Test I will be making sure I pick the best team for that first game.”
England will hope to call on speedster Jofra Archer when the Ashes series kicks off at Edgbaston, with Mark Wood and Olly Stone among the other pace options.
Experienced duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad have terrorised Australia on home soil and could again be pivotal even as England take their innovative game-plan into the Ashes.
“Jimmy and Broad had been so protective over their economy rates, but now they have seen a different side to it. Having those two with a ‘fine to go for runs mentality’ is something that will do us fine if Australia come back at us.”