‘Cook trusts Stokes with the ball more now’


England all-rounder Ben Stokes took six wickets in the second innings of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, leading to a win inside three days, and assistant coach Paul Farbrace says skipper Alastair Cook has learned to trust the Durham man.

Stokes wasn't always allowed long spells with the ball as he could be a bit wayward, and Cook tended to keep the ball for his veteran pacemen, but with added responsibility has come more success, as shown in Nottingham last week.

Farbrace said on Cricinfo: "An interesting relationship has developed between Cooky and Ben Stokes. Over the last 18 months or so, Stokes has wanted to bowl more and maybe Cooky hasn't always trusted him to bowl so he has had short spells.

"Stokes knows he has short spells so he has been trying to impress with inswingers, bouncers, yorkers, whatever. What we are now seeing, is that Stokes has had a couple of good spells and has been thrown the ball a bit more.

"So he is getting confidence from Cooky, Cooky is getting confidence in Stokesy, and now he is bowling spells like he did on Friday – a long spell which was needed for the team.

"So the next time we are in that situation, Cooky will have no qualms about chucking Ben the ball knowing that he can do it, and Ben won't feel like he has to prove himself every time he bowls.

"When players are not trying to prove something to the captain or coaches and just playing the way the team needs them to play, that is a great place for a team to be."