Stoneman reveals how Aussie boosted his career

Australia

Surrey and England opener Mark Stoneman has credited former Australia international Michael Di Venuto with boosting his career.

Stoneman played alongside Di Venuto at Durham and made the move away from Chester-Le-Street to play for Surrey when the Australian was appointed head coach.

At thirty Stoneman made his debut a little later than most having struck up a fruitful opening partnership with Rory Burns in London.

Speaking of Di Venuto Stoneman said: “He’s been a fantastic mentor for me.

“He doesn’t complicate the game too much. He’s definitely taken my game forward.”

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Stoneman feels that his naturally aggressive game will help to take the pressure of the traditionally more conservative Alastair Cook in their opening partnership.

He said: “I think I’ve got a natural flow to my game, and I’m always looking to score.

“Hopefully, that can take pressure off Cookie if I’m playing well.

“I don’t think it rests just on myself and Cookie at the top of the order but, generally, the momentum will start there.”

Another former Durham teammate Ben Stokes has found himself in doubt for the Ashes after his alleged involvement in a much publicized street brawl in Bristol.

Stoneman hopes that Stokes is able to play some part in the Ashes series.

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He said: “I hope there’s a way back and it would be great if we could have him in some part on this tour.

“I’ve seen him since and spoken a couple of times.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with him, especially in the early part of the career. He’s a fantastic guy. He’s one of the great guys to be around.

“A player of that quality you are going to miss in any environment. It’s something that we’ve accepted, so we have to crack on.

“If he is not available then we’ll be putting out an XI that will be going out to win a game of cricket.”

The first Ashes Test takes place on November 23 in Brisbane.

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