Ben Stokes ‘badgered’ Giles to be reinstated as vice-captain

England
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Ben Stokes pleaded with the England management to be reinstated as vice-captain, Ashley Giles has revealed.

Stokes, the hero of last week’s dramatic series-levelling Ashes victory over Australia, was restored as Joe Root’s number two earlier this summer.

The all-rounder was stripped of the position in 2017 following his involvement in a brawl in Bristol. The 28-year-old was cleared of affray in August last year and has since gone on to cement his place as one of England’s most important players.

His reappointment was made after his starring role in England’s World Cup success earlier in the summer.

Giles, England’s managing director, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “He badgered myself and (ECB chief executive) Tom Harrison. He was desperate to do it.

“He really is one of your warriors when you take to the field and he has demonstrated that a couple of times this year at least, and on two of the biggest stages you could imagine in the World Cup final, and last week in the Test match.

“He is almost, when you write the team down, your first name on the list.”

Stokes hit a brilliant unbeaten 135 in the third Test at Headingley last Sunday to guide England to a sensational one-wicket win that levelled the five-match series at 1-1.

The fourth Test takes place at Old Trafford this week and Giles hopes England maintain the momentum.

He said: “We are very much back in the Ashes series now and I’m sure the guys will be full of confidence. And that performance that Ben Stokes delivered, I’m sure it will raise everyone else as well.

“Ben’s innings can bring everyone along with them and give them confidence against this very good Australia bowling attack that we can deliver and we can put them under pressure.”

England will again be without record wicket-taker James Anderson after the seamer suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury.

Giles said: “Jimmy will be desperate really. He was obviously looking forward to this series and had worked so hard to try and get back for these last two Test matches.

“He tested himself out well but just picked up a niggle on the third day (playing for Lancashire second XI) and once that happens we obviously know we can’t risk it. It is disappointing for Jimmy but I am sure he will be back.”

Australia will be boosted by the return of talisman Steve Smith, who missed the third Test after being struck by a Jofra Archer bouncer and suffering concussion in the second match at Lord’s.

Smith scored a century in each innings of the first Test at Edgbaston.

Giles said: “Steve Smith is a fantastic player. It is good to see he is fit and healthy. We have got to suss him out definitely.

“I don’t think anyone in our bowling attack is scared of Steve Smith but we all understand he is a really good player.”

England are set to keep faith with Jason Roy despite a poor series so far but he may not open the batting.

Giles said: “There is a lot of faith Jason can deliver at this level.

“We all believe the experiment, if you like, to bat him at the top of the order was one worth taking. That might well be shuffled around this week.”

 

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