Ben Stokes tips Jofra Archer to spearhead England's pursuit of Ashes glory in Australia
Ben Stokes tips Jofra Archer to spearhead England's pursuit of Ashes glory in Australia (Image: GETTY)
Ben Stokes believes England can regain the Ashes next time with a side built around the explosive talent of Jofra Archer.
England’s star all-rounder believes Joe Root has chanced upon not only a formula that works for red ball cricket but also the character in the dressing room needed for such a task.
And while he pinpointed the emergence of Joe Denly and Rory Burns at the top of the order as key, it is the bowling of Archer on fast Aussie decks which fills him with belief they achieve something only great teams manage.
Archer was involved in some of the most compelling spells of a thrilling series, notably to Steve Smith at Lord’s and Matthew Wade at The Oval.
And on hard, bouncy pitches Down Under Stokes believes he could be unplayable.
“There is no doubt he is the sort of guy who can help get those Ashes back when we go Down Under,” Stokes said.
“He’s got experience in that part of the world already with the Big Bash and has done pretty well, so he’ll feel comfortable going there and performing.
“When you can bowl 90 miles per hour plus and with the control that he’s got then he is going to be a huge threat anywhere in the world.Jofra Archer was integral as England beat Australia in the fifth Ashes Test of the 2019 series (Image: GETTY)
“I look at someone like Pat Cummins for Australia and how effective he is everywhere he goes. He runs in and he hits a hard length in the high 80s and 90 miles an hour every now and then and he takes wickets everywhere he goes and that is why he is the World No.1 bowler.
“I think Jofra is built in the same way in terms of the way that he bowls and the lengths and the areas he hits.
“Let's not forget he is still very inexperienced in terms of Test cricket. It is very rare for a 24-year-old to be able to come in and be exposed to this environment and then step up and improve game by game as quickly as Jof is doing it.
“But there is plenty more to come from him because he is so skilful and picks things up so quickly.England star Ben Stokes is backing Jofra Archer to shine again against Australia in the Ashes (Image: GETTY)
“I don't think I've seen a more talented bowler in my time and it is great to have him on your team.”
Given Stokes has played with Jimmy Anderson that is high praise indeed.
But the all-rounder also believes the performances from Denly and Burns and Root coming to terms with batting at three, have lent a more balanced look to the side.
“I think the Test side has done pretty well considering some of the difficulties and issues we've had such as the regular changes in the batting order,” Stokes added.
Building a side capable of achieving something done just four times in the last 50 years and only once in the last eight Ashes series in Australia in 2010-11 will not be easy but Stokes believes the foundation stones have been laid this summer.Rory Burns and Joe Denly have the potential to top England's batting order in the next Ashes series (Image: GETTY)Ben Stokes says England star Jofra Archer's experience of playing in Australia will help him (Image: GETTY)
“It looks like we've found a formula in the last game or so that works for us and is something we can build on, something that works and hopefully we can stick with that so when guys get their opportunities down the line they can be consistent with their performances,” Stokes said.
Stokes, who has finished the Ashes struggling with a right shoulder injury, is due some time off after being on the go all summer.
“It’s been a blast,” he said. “It has hasn't all been plain sailing because we had to dig ourselves out of a hole in the World Cup and then we had to scrap until the very last to get that trophy, but we got it.
“The same in the Ashes where we had to fight all the way to the end to get the draw, but we got it and I think that is something we can be so proud of.
“When things got tough, we didn't crumble, we stood tall to the end and showed the character in our dressing room.”
Meanwhile, Jack Leach asked Steve Smith for a picture in his glasses as England and Australia celebrated the drawn Ashes series in the dressing room at The Oval.
Smith had led Aussie celebrations at Old Trafford poking fun at Leach in a pair of glasses - a stunt the tourists suggested unbelievably was about former opener Chris Rogers.
But Leach saw the funny side and made a bee-line for Smith as the two teams shared a friendly post-match beer on Sunday night.
“He came to me to let me know that it wasn’t about me. I didn’t know whether it was or wasn’t (in Manchester). I was kind of hoping it was, and thought it was a good laugh,” said Leach.Jack Leach and Steve Smith chatted after England and Australia drew the 2019 Ashes series (Image: GETTY)
“I was very embarrassed after Headingley when the video came out of me doing (recreating) my one. I think I deserved that to be honest!
“That's why we got a picture together after the game with him wearing my glasses!”
Leach’s single contribution in the stand with Stokes which won the third Test might have been in a losing cause had Nathan Lyon not fumbled a run out with the England spinner miles out of his ground.
And Leach admitted Lyon had sought him out as well.
“Nathan came over and said to me: ‘how many beers do you owe me [for the run out]?’ I think I owe him a lot!” Leach said.