Flintoff: I'd have Stokes in the team

England

Former captain Andrew Flintoff has implored England to name all-rounder Ben Stokes in the XI for the first Ashes Test, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

Former captain Andrew Flintoff has implored England to name all-rounder Ben Stokes in the XI for the first Ashes Test, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

Capped 10 times in ODI cricket and four in Twenty20 Internationals, Stokes is yet to feature in the longest form of the international game.

The talented left-hander, batsman Jonny Bairstow and the Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance are, essentially, vying for the number six berth in the tourists' batting order.

"I'd play him , I'd have him in the team. He can bowl at 90 miles per hour and can bat at six, it's a no-brainer for me," said Flintoff.

"Over there the bowlers have to earn their wickets and just having that other seamer who can bowl to give James Anderson a rest, give Stuart Broad a rest and whoever the other one may be, the third seamer, is invaluable. And he can bat, I'd get him in straight away."

"I think they've got to give someone a go at it and I'd give Stokes a go. Everything's about confidence, the people around him can put faith in him. Going out there and starting well in the warm-up games can give him confidence going into the series. He's good enough to do well so I'd get him in."

The 35-year-old Flintoff, meanwhile, hailed the positive influence of new Australian coach Darren Lehmann – who succeed South African Mickey Arthur prior to the Ashes series in England earlier this year. Lehmann's opening assignment, though, resulted in a three-nil series defeat.

"I think over the past few months the Australian side has improved, I think a lot of that is down to their coach Lehmann, he's doing a great job. He is bringing a fearless way of playing; don't be afraid to lose, go out there and win, and I think that's dangerous," he added.

"This time, I think it'll be two-one to England. I think it should be two-one to England but if they're not on it then it could be two-one to Australia. England should win the series, but if they got beat I wouldn't be massively surprised."

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