Ashes 2023: England Captain Ben Stokes calls for “flat decks” and 8 quicks to favour Bazball in the Ashes

Toby Marshall
17 April 2023
Ashes 2023: England Captain Ben Stokes

The upcoming Ashes series is set to begin on June 16th, and England’s Test team captain, Ben Stokes, has revealed his plans for the tournament. He hopes to target traditional rivals Australia with a barrage of fast-paced deliveries, provided that they get flat and fast wickets.

Stokes intends to use the same aggressive game plan that has resulted in England winning ten out of their last twelve Tests under his stewardship. He also has faith in his team’s ability to score quickly, which has been a hallmark of his captaincy.

Under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, England have adopted a positive and attacking approach to cricket referred to as ‘Bazball’ by both the media and the cricketing community. Stokes plans to utilize express pace in favourable seaming conditions and already has a lineup in mind.

While out in the IPL, Stokes spoke to Sky Sports and explained that he had requested pitches conducive to England’s style of play from the curators at the five venues. He acknowledged that this may also play into Australia’s hands, given their possession of a quicker bowling attack.

According to Stokes, the ground staff have been very responsive to their requests and have been providing fast, flat wickets that enable them to score quickly. He added that if Australia has fast wickets to bowl on, they will also be happy with that.

The 31-year-old is aiming to lead England to their first Test series triumph over Australia since 2015 and is of the opinion that pitch conditions will play a vital role in determining the outcome of the series. During Sky Sports’ Indian Premier League coverage, Stokes was quoted as saying that he believes he knows what the starting XI will be, but he will be making sure he picks the best team for the first game of the series.

Stokes provided an update on his fitness, mentioning that he has been receiving medical treatment and has been working out in the gym, as well as receiving cortisone injections. However, he emphasized that he will take his time to ensure that he can fulfill his role as a fourth seamer in the Ashes and will not rush his recovery.

Ben Stokes said that England will not hold back on their win-at-all-costs approach this summer, even if it means risking their chances of regaining the Ashes.

Stokes is known for his willingness to take risks in pursuit of victory, as evidenced by his decision to enforce the follow-on in the 2nd Test against New Zealand, which led to the Black Caps securing a win and levelling the series. He also offered a chance for Pakistan to go for a last-gasp win on the final day of the first Test at Rawalpindi.

During the interview, Nasser Hussain asked Stokes whether England’s approach to the game would change due to the significance of the Ashes contest. Stokes replied that he would declare even if England had a 300-run lead, three wickets down, and were 2-1 up in the series.

He emphasized that every game in the Ashes would be about producing a result and that he wouldn’t deviate from his usual approach, as it wouldn’t be true to himself or his recent performances.

The upcoming Ashes series comprising of five Tests will be included in the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. Prior to the series, England is scheduled to play a four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s starting on June 1.

Author Toby Marshall