Stoneman looks to shrug off winless winter

England opener Mark Stoneman may have endured a lean run during England’s winless winter downunder averaging just a shade over thirty.

Stoneman played all seven of England’s Tests against Australia and New Zealand and while he managed four fifties he was unable to reach three figures.

Despite the lean run for both himself and the team Stoneman is eager to take some positives from the experience.

Speaking at Surrey’s media day Stoneman said: “A lot of ups and downs this winter.

“There’s a whole range of emotions that you go through – it was pretty tough, certainly disappointing from a results point of view.

“In terms of my own performances, I feel like there was some good stuff in there, stuff to build on, but there were a few opportunities missed as well.

“On reflection, I feel I’m good enough. The processes and the rhythms are the same, but it’s just the intensity and the scrutiny that you’re under is a hell of a lot more, so it’s about trying to keep things in context.

“[The Ashes] it’s a bit of a circus. You find that all the things that are going on, and what is deemed to be important, detracts from some really good cricket.”

Stoneman feels that the 4-0 scoreline of the Ashes flatters the hosts somewhat as he believes the margin between the two sides was not that large.

He went on: “Without doubt, we did some good things as a team in Australia. But, when the key moments came, Australia got it right every time, while we didn’t. And, once they gained momentum they managed to steamroller us.

“In most games we felt at the end of day three we were in decent positions. But, we never got things right on those day fours.

“Then, once things go against you, the media side of things snowballs and starts portraying a picture that I don’t think relates to what was actually happening in the dressing room and how we felt as a team.”

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Stoneman will be looking to convert his starts into big scores in both the Championship and the upcoming Tests against Pakistan, should he be retained.

He said: “I need to convert starts into big scores.

“Runs are your currency as a batsman; that’s ultimately what you’re going to be judged on.

“It’s something I struggled with in the early part of my county career – I would make decent 30s or 40s but not make the hundreds that I needed to.

“I’ve since got into those habits in county cricket over the last few years but obviously haven’t transferred that over into Test cricket yet.

“I did some good work with Thorpey out in New Zealand, which I felt started getting me in a better place. I was feeling quite comfortable, so it would have been lovely if there’d been a third game.

“Obviously that first session in Auckland killed us. As a team, we did some good things in the second Test down in Christchurch but just weren’t able to force the result home.”

Stoneman will have an opportunity to learn from one of the form openers in Test cricket right now, Dean Elgar who has joined Surrey as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh as overseas professional.

The England man continued: “I don’t know Elgar, personally, but it will be nice to hopefully spend a little bit of time out there in the middle with him and at practice.

“He’s someone who always finds a way, regardless of the challenge he’s up against. So it will be good to pick his brains and work alongside him.

“Ultimately though, it’s up to me to me to make those runs to try and get selected for the Test series against Pakistan.”