Stokes wants big role for England

Ben Stokes has produced a number of fine performances for England this winter

Ben Stokes has produced a number of fine performances for England this winter

First published in National Sport News © by

Ben Stokes wants to be the player England turn to in a time of crisis after inspiring their first win over Australia this winter.

The all-rounder was named man of the match as he hit 70 and then took four for 39 as England won the fourth one-day international in Perth by 57 runs.

Friday's victory ended a nine-game losing run against Australia - dating back to the home ODI series in September - and ensured England did not match their longest losing sequence.

"(It is) very special to finally come off the pitch a winner on this trip," Stokes said.

"It's been pretty tough. The feeling in the dressing room after was really good. It does taste a lot better when you win."

For Stokes success was even sweeter after he had been targeted in the dramatic one-wicket defeat in Brisbane last week.

The 22-year-old conceded five sixes in the final 10 overs as James Faulkner engineered an unlikely success.

Stokes, however, was not cowed by the experience and after taking three late wickets at the WACA Ground - including Faulkner - he admitted he had asked skipper Alastair Cook to again bowl him at the death.

"I think he knows that I want to do that," he said.

"We chatted about it and I said: 'Yeah, I want to bowl at the end'.

"I've done that role for Durham in the one-day stuff over the last few years. It's not like I'm not used to it.

"This time I've got wickets, last time I did that it didn't go so well. It can go one way or the other."

It was a measure of revenge for the Durham man after his chastening Gabba experience.

"I think so. It didn't go well the last time I got the ball chucked to me," he said.

"I really wanted to change the way that went and made sure we got over the line."

Stokes' emotions were obvious when he dismissed Faulkner as he had a few words with his Australia counterpart as he left the crease.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena was moved to step in and have a word with Stokes afterwards, but it appears that was the end of the matter.

"It was nothing worse than I've been getting all one-day series," he said.

That competitive spirit has been a refreshing attitude following a tour in which England have too often subsided to Australia's aggressive approach.

"I'm always competitive and I'm always up for the fight," said Stokes, who served notice of his willing attitude with a fighting century in the Test match in Perth.

"I always want to be involved in (the key moments). I want to try and influence the result for whatever team I'm playing for."

Stokes has been one of the obvious success stories of an otherwise difficult tour, although he still does not believe his place in the ODI, or Test, teams are assured.

"I don't think I've nailed my position," he said.

"Going forward I've just got to put some consistent efforts in and make sure I keep my place in the team.

"I've got that opportunity and I hope I get a few more down the line. I've just got to keep trying to put in good performances."

He hopes also that his move up the order in this series is not a short-lived experiment.

"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to bat at three," he said.

"It is nice being out there and trying to bat for as long as I can. It gives you added experience."

The move to shift Stokes up the order points to England's determination, at least, to learn ahead of next year's World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Top of that list is adopting a 'no-fear approach' which was evident in Perth as England swept to 316 for eight - their second-highest score on Australian soil.

Stokes believes that attitude must be central to any further success, starting again at the Adelaide Oval for the series finale on Sunday.

"I think it is, we've been trying to play like that it just hasn't been working," he said.

"Playing with no fear is probably the best way to go about it.

"If you've got any doubts in your mind you are more than likely going to get out."

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