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Agnew column: England has a better chance of beating Australia in the Ashes already

Ben Stokes’ captaincy has given England a better chance of defeating Australia in next summer’s Ashes. After the 4-0 defeat last winter, I thought Australia would come here and just hammer England but that’s not necessarily the case now.

I feel very confident about England’s prospects and what Stokes has done with the team since taking over from Joe Root in April.

Coming into the summer after defeats in the Ashes and the West Indies, I thought England would lose six of seven Tests this summer instead of winning the series 3-0 against New Zealand. , ranked fifth, winning the Test against India and the series against South Africa 2–1.

I always thought that Stokes could take his game to another level by becoming captain. I’m not saying he’s done that yet, but we’ve got a really interesting insight into how he thinks as a cricketer because he’s put it into his captaincy.

His mantra is ‘the game is never over until it’s over and his counter-attacking style, especially as a batsman, is his usual game. We have seen it very clearly now in his captaincy and it is very exciting.

It’s not always going to work and his spirited innings in the third Test at The Oval was a case in point as he gave South Africa a chance to come back into the Test after being bowled out for 118, and that’s the last thing to do.

Everyone prefers to play attacking games, and most people admit that it’s a lot more exciting and fun, but at this level, there are times when you have to balance it.

But overall, Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum’s mentality is very healthy and it was badly needed after the West Indies when the team was broken and just looked finished.

Stokes is a very relaxed cricketer and while he is fiercely competitive, when the camera is on him in the changing room he is just sitting there, leaning back in his chair and laughing.

He just sees it as an opportunity to put his stamp on the team and lead by example.

Agnew column: England has a better chance of beating Australia in the Ashes already

The main thing he has done with McCullum is to allow players to be themselves and to know that they will be forgiven for over-attacking or miscalculating – it doesn’t mean they are dropped. will be done

Whoever you are, you have to be talented enough to play at this level, so the last thing you want is for a talented player to be desperate to play for your spot. No England player thinks so now.

That’s all the stuff we’ve heard over the years and I don’t think a single England player thinks that at the moment.

England plays three Tests in Pakistan next December, before touring New Zealand in February.

Pakistan will be very different this summer. It will be played on very flat pitches and people will have to work hard to get out.

I expect England to play very aggressively, especially with the bat, as they need time to bowl out the opposition.

New Zealand is a strange tour with only two matches and a day-nighter. If James Anderson and Stuart Broad don’t go to Pakistan, I can see them going there.

One of the features at the beginning of this summer was that you could see the end of Anderson and Broad, this could be when they say their goodbyes and walk off together to the crowd.

It’s not going to happen and far from a red ball reset in the Caribbean, it happened in early June when they returned and Stokes and McCullum came together.

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