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Ben Stokes' progress excites England ODI coach

AFP
Sep 17, 2013 at 06:50pm IST

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Southampton: Ben Stokes's recent performances against Australia won't have done the rising star of English cricket's hopes of securing an Ashes tour berth any harm, according to one-day coach Ashley Giles.

The 22-year-old Durham pace-bowling allrounder took five wickets for 61 runs, his maiden five-wicket haul in one-day internationals, at Southampton on Monday, but Stokes couldn't prevent Australia's 49-run win as the tourists completed a 2-1 series victory.

However, Ashes-holders England deliberately rested five senior players - captain Alastair Cook, batsman Ian Bell and bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann - from the one-dayers ahead of the return Test series in Australia starting in November.

Ben Stokes' progress excites England ODI coach

After impressing with his performance in the one-dayers against Australia, Ben Stokes stands a chance of breaking into the Test team.

And former Test left-arm spinner Giles, also now a selector, was delighted by the way Stokes, ex-Ireland paceman Boyd Rankin, wicketkeeper/batsman Jos Buttler and seamer Chris Jordan, who took three wickets on England debut on Monday, all impressed in the one-dayers.

"We've learnt a lot throughout this series from the experience of a lot of these young guys coming in," Giles told reporters at England's hotel on Tuesday.

"Ben Stokes, we have asked a lot of as third seamer, but it's a role he has stepped up to the mark with.

"To get five-for against Australia is brilliant for him and he showed glimpses with the bat as well."

As for Stokes's prospects of forcing his way into an Ashes squad due to be announced on Monday, Giles said his one-day displays, which included partnering Buttler in a match-winning stand in the three-wicket win in the fourth ODI in Cardiff on Saturday, hadn't done his hopes "any harm".

"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.

"We just need to be careful 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."

Stokes's otherwise smooth ascent suffered a setback when he was sent home from the second string England Lions tour of Australia early this year for persistent drinking.

"Occasionally you will make mistakes. If they do make mistakes of course it's our job to act and at the same time try and help them through that," said Giles.

"Sometimes the life experiences are as important as the cricket ones and Ben will have learned a lot from last winter. Throughout this one-day series he's been extremely mature.

"But we have to be aware they are still babes and we have to take care of them on and off the field."

As for the composition of the tour party, Giles said: "We haven't picked the squad and I'm sure there are still places up for grabs.

"It's a huge meeting... I can't see it being a quick one.

"That spotlight of Test cricket, especially Ashes cricket, is the toughest in the world."

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