Ben Stokes (Associated Press)

Ben Stokes has called for “fast, flat pitches” during the Ashes summer and vowed that there will be no change to England’s aggressive approach as they look to regain the urn from Australia.

Test captain Stokes has led a new attack-minded England to 10 wins from 12 since succeeding Joe Root in the role last spring, with the 3-0 sweep in Pakistan in December including his side scoring over 500 on day one of the Rawalpindi Test.

The 31-year-old wants Ashes surfaces that will allow his team – who last beat won a Test series against Australia in 2015 – to carry on playing in such bold fashion.

He told Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain: “We’ve been very clear with the groundstaff around England about what type of wickets we want and they’ve been very responsive to us, which is good.

Ben Stokes (Associated Press)
Stokes has steered England to 10 wins in 12 Tests since taking over as captain in the spring of 2022

“We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly. I’m smiling because I’m looking forward to it.

“Hold me to it. Every game I play this summer will be to produce a result.

“I’m not going to change anything just because it’s the Ashes. I’m not going to change for anything or any situation, because then I’m not being true to myself and what I’ve done over the last year.

“There’s no point changing just because we’re coming into an Ashes series.

“Every player knows the Ashes is where everything ramps up a bit – pressure, exposure, all kinds of stuff – but we’ll just keep sticking to what we do.

“If you plan for negativity, it is inevitable it is going to happen.”

‘Any captain wants someone who can bowl over 90mph’

Jofra Archer, 2019 Ashes
Jofra Archer has not played a Test since February 2021 due to injury

Stokes has been unable to call upon Jofra Archer during his time as Test captain so far with the fast bowler previously sidelined by elbow and back injuries.

Archer’s fitness continues to be monitored at the IPL, where he has only played in one of Mumbai Indians’ first three matches, but Stokes is hopeful of having the seamer’s 90mph-plus place available to him during the Ashes.

“Having the option of someone who can bowl above 90mph is something any captain wants,” said Stokes, with Mark Wood and Olly Stone also offering him that skill.

“Test matches can be hard and gruelling on bodies and who knows what type of conditions we might be up against game to game?

“We might feel like high-end pace is something we want throughout the series, we might feel like it’s not what we need in every game. But having options is something I want.”

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England’s all-time leading wicket taker James Anderson says it will be a big ask on his body to be able play all five Ashes Tests

James Anderson, 40, and Stuart Broad, 36, will lead the bowling attack once again this summer, with Stokes pleased at how the pair have embraced England’s attacking mentality.

The captain said: “Jimmy and Stuart 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.”

Watch The Ashes live on Sky Sports from Friday June 16 as the opening Test begins at Edgbaston. England’s Test summer starts on Thursday June 1 with a four-day game against Ireland at Lord’s.


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