England news September 17, 2013

Stokes in Ashes mix - Giles


Ben Stokes' performances in the ODI series against Australia could have pushed him closer to a spot in this winter's Ashes touring party, according to Ashley Giles, England's limited-overs coach. Giles, who is also a selector, said the panel would sit down for a "huge meeting" ahead of Monday's announcement of the squad to tour Australia and that the one-day form shown by the likes of Stokes and Boyd Rankin may have a bearing, despite England's 2-1 defeat in the series.

Durham allrounder Stokes was asked to fill the role of England's third seamer and his displays were increasingly impressive, culminating in a five-wicket haul at the Ageas Bowl on Monday; he also gave a glimpse of his ability with the bat during a crucial partnership with Jos Buttler to help England win the fourth ODI in Cardiff. His ability in the field, with Giles called him "one of the best in the world", could also help push him ahead of the likes of Chris Woakes and Ravi Bopara for inclusion as a Test allrounder.

Rankin, meanwhile, was the pick of the bowlers against Australia, demonstrating pace and bounce as well as impressive control (his 29.1 overs were delivered at an economy of 3.63). Since making his one-day debut against Ireland, he has taken nine wickets at 16.88 and, with a view to Australian pitches, his height may sway England, much as Chris Tremlett's raw physicality did three years ago.

"They certainly won't have done it any harm," Giles said of the pair's prospects. "If you look at the attributes both of them have; Boyd is six foot 10 or something, a huge man, and he bowls at a good rate of knots. We tend to like our tall fast bowlers. Going to Australia, playing on those wickets, those attributes are important."

"Ben is someone who has been on the radar for a couple of years and people are starting to talk about him, I think he's a really exciting cricketer and there's a lot more to come from him with bat and ball. Already, possibly, he's one of the best fielders in the world - I know that's a big call - he's a terrific athlete so those all-round skills put him in an elite market. When you can do those sorts of things you will be talked about across all forms of the game. We just need to be careful that we aren't pushing them too hard, it still takes time and the experience of playing. But, so far, so good on the report card."

Although England's inexperienced attack struggled to contain Australia in two of the three completed matches - conceding 315 for 7 at Old Trafford and 298 at the Ageas Bowl - Stokes finished as their leading wicket-taker, coming on at first change and nudging 90mph on the speed gun. He only batted three times but twice passed his previous best score.

"We did ask a lot of him as third seamer, we know that," Giles said. "But some of the stuff we've seen this summer, even with red ball, has taken us down that path. He reverses it both ways, he bowls with pace - he bounced out Wade yesterday - he's aggressive. We don't make those big decisions without some evidence and it's there that he's made great leaps.

"His batting is extremely dangerous, as he showed on occasions, but there's a lot more to come there. The guy is a genuine allrounder, across the aspects of the game and quite possibly across all three forms. It's very important we look after these guys and try to nurture them, they are our greatest assets and we'd be silly to take our eyes off the ball."

England are expected to named a 16-man Ashes squad, although in 2010-11 they later expanded the number to 17. Giles would not be drawn further on the make-up of the party, other than to say "the first 12 pick themselves", but said that the selectors had plenty of options to consider. "It will be a good debate, because we've got some very good cricketers. Some of them have come into this series and really impressed, I think that's healthy for some of the guys we have rested that we have young players chasing them up."

The decision to omit several players who had been involved in the home Ashes, including Alastair Cook, England's Test and ODI captain, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, was not met with universal approval and while Giles was pleased with the signs of progress, he admitted that losing a second bilateral series of the summer had not been part of the plan.

"It has been useful. The win in Cardiff was obviously the most pleasing aspect," he said. "That win centred around a lot of the young guys having a really good day. We thought at the start of the series that if we could move two guys on a fair distance in terms of creating a larger pool of players in one-day cricket then this series has done a lot of its job. In Rankin and Stokes, they have probably done that on their own but there are others too, so as a coach that's really pleasing. Ultimately, of course, these aren't practice games and we lost 2-1."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 21, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Cook(1), Root(2), Trott(3), Pietersen(4), Bell(5), Stokes(6+4th seamer), Prior(7+wk), Compton(Spare 1,2), Taylor(spare 3,4,5,6), Bairstow(spare WK), Anderson(1st seamer), Finn(2nd seamer), Bresnan(3rd seamer), Tremlett (3rd seamer if Bresnan isn't fit, 1st spare seamer), Broad(2nd spare seamer), Rankin(3rd spare seamer), Onions(In the squad as a cover for Bresnan)

  • Android on September 21, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Stokes is an allrounder who can bowl well.And in ashes,he may have a splendid debut.

  • John on September 20, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    @Sigismund: Glad you share my opinion of Vince. I would put his career average (around 37, counting the current game) more down to the fact that he didn't have great seasons when he was 20/21, since he's only 22 now. That's very understandable, since he was just learning the game. This year, as I said, he has a FC average of nearly 60- and how many 22-year olds can say that?

  • Isaac on September 19, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    @landl47: totally with you on James Vince. Have been watching his progress carefully. Not only has he got an impressive tally of tons, but he has also scored some seriously important ones for his team - a few when no-one else got past 25. He also plays cracking shots and scores at a decent lick - the sort of player who gets the bowlers demoralised, making life much easier for everyone else (i.e. he's not Trott). His average isn't spectacular but I feel he has been a bit dragged down by his team's poor results.

    I presume he bowls some sort of pies, but has picked up several important wickets this season, and a 5-for.

    He'll make a super number 5 for England one day, hopefully quite soon.

  • John on September 19, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    @Daniel Vogt on (September 18, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

    Are you thee Daniel Vogt? If so I'm sure Ashley Giles will be absolutely devastated that you have such a low opinion of him

  • John on September 19, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    Speaking of the performance squad, James Vince is quietly making a very good case for himself. Today he scored his 4th county championship ton of the season and 3rd in 3 games. He also reached 1000 runs in the CC, at an average of nearly 60. He's still only 22 and won't be 23 until March, but already has 10 FC hundreds.

    He's a good-looking player, being compared to Michael Vaughan in style, and is becoming a very effective one. I'll be surprised (and disappointed) if he isn't in the performance squad and if he continues the progress he has made this year he'll be in contention for full England honours before long.

  • ESPN on September 18, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    Yeah Ashley giles, your opinion on cricketers is one i value greatly, because we all know what a champion cricketer you were !! Haha

  • Jeff on September 18, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    Batsmen pick themselves. Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bell, Compton, Bairstow - with the latter also as the reserve WK. Prior goes as keeper, Swann and one of Panesar/Tredwell as the spinners. And for the fast bowlers - Anderson, Broad, Bresnan, Finn will be on the jet barring injury. Thats 14 players, leaving 2 spare places in a 16 man squad. So Stokes and Rankin could quite easily have booked a seat on the jet, although Onions has been impressive in the CC. As for Carberry, surely the recently completed series has proven he is not, never was, and never will be, good enough to play cricket at this level. Ditto Bopara - we cant be carrying people who have one decent game then are total passengers for the rest of the series.

  • John on September 18, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @RodStark on (September 18, 2013, 13:50 GMT) What did Nick say when dropped? Whatever it was , if it put the high and mighty's backs up then good on him. Nick was never publicly backed first of all in NZ even after he scored a couple of tons and then was asked to guest for Worcs vs Aus and he did much better that Root or JB vs Aus and then was dropped. While I'm not for him being dropped I can understand the decision but why ask him to guest for Worcs and waste his time if the decision was already made? He maybe hasn't done that much but I'd say he's done at least as much as the 2 Yorkies since being dropped and definitely more battingwise than Tremlett bowlingwise

  • Isaac on September 18, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    @siddhartha87: Root did not fail as an opener in the Ashes. Certainly, he didn't have a dream series, but he did his job well. Almost every time he got a low score he still batted for a substantial amount of time (70% of the opener's job), and often he was playing to under team orders to dig in. Good experience for him, and when he gets given a more free reign in more favourable conditions he is likely to show his class. Consider this, furthermore: how many decent players would rate making 180 at Lord's as the best innings of their life? And he's only 23.