Stokes keen to make up for past errors

England

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is determined to use his Ashes call-up to maximum effect, and make up for the last time he was Down Under and was sent home in disgrace due to disciplinary issues.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is determined to use his Ashes call-up to maximum effect, and make up for the last time he was Down Under and was sent home in disgrace due to disciplinary issues.

Stokes has come to the fore recently thanks to some impressive performances with the ODI squad against Australia, and was thus named in the squad to travel to the Antipodes at the end of the year to defend the Ashes.

The Durham all-rounder said in the Guardian of his call-up: "I'm pretty happy with it. It was such a surprise. When I got the call I was speechless, I just didn't know what to say.

"Now I just can't wait to be in the changing room for the first Test this winter so I can take in the atmosphere."

The 22-year-old's call up came as a relief to him, after finding himself in trouble with the top brass during the Lions' tour to Australia six months ago. He was sent home after one too many late nights, and a spat with police.

But he says being sent home was a wake up call, and he became more determined than ever to show his worth and improve his attitude. This resulted in limited-overs call ups, and a five-fer against Australia in the recent ODI series.

Stokes said: "Some things were said that really hit home. After the incident, I just really wanted to prove how much I wanted to play for England, show everyone that I wanted it enough to do everything that was being asked of me, on and off the pitch."

When asked if his dad, a professional rugby coach, reprimanded him, Stokes added: "He didn't need to. Obviously he's my parent, so however old I am he always has his penny's worth.

"But I think he realised I needed to do this for myself, rather than leave it to someone else to push me. It was a choice I made. I wanted to be the one to make these changes and prove them wrong."

As for the game itself, the all-rounder still considers himself more of a batsman, though his bowling has come along in leaps and bounds in recent months, thanks to focused attention at Chester-le-Street.

He said: "I'm still learning a lot about bowling, but I have really come on in the last two years because of the responsibility that I have been given at Durham.

"I used to be guilty of trying to get a wicket every ball, but I've learned the game is not that easy. That's come with experience."

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