'We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly' - England red-ball skipper Ben Stokes reveals his intent ahead of the Ashes

England will lock horns with Australia at Edgbaston on June 16, in the first Test of the Ashes.

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Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The upcoming Ashes 2023 summer is going to be one intense series between England and Australia. And with the clock ticking as the series is inching closer, the England captain has amped up his thinking tank and preparations for the Test series. In an interesting move, Ben Stokes has been in touch with the ground staff in all the venues giving instructions on the kind of pitches the hosts wish to play on against the Aussies.

Moreover, the 31-year-old admits that it may backfire on them as the pace battery of the visitors are quicker than the English side. Notably, the English skipper has asked for fast and flat wickets with the idea that it will help them to maintain their 'Bazball' approach and score quicker like they have done in past. This going all-guns blazing style has also given them hope to regain the urn from Australia. If that happens, it will be the first time since 2015 that the hosts will win the coveted series.

"We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly. It brings their [Australia's] guys in: if they've got fast wickets to bowl on then they'll be happy with that as well. " Stokes was quoted as saying by SkySports.

Amidst this, the Southpaw also iterated that not only he has been thinking about the pitches but he's also inching closer to a final playing XI, when England take on Australia in the first Test at Edgbaston on June 16. Furthermore, Stokes also revealed his discussions with medical support staff regarding the availability of the bowlers for 'The Ashes 2023' Test series.

"I think I know what the starting XI is going to be, there or thereabouts. I think having the option to have someone who can bowl above 90mph is what any captain wants. When it comes to that first Test match, I'll be making sure that I pick the best team for that first game," the Christchurch-born continued.

England skipper Ben Stokes opens up on his injury and his role as fourth seamer along with his bowling lineup

The left-hander batter and English captain also discussed his Knee injury which he has been nursing for quite some time now. Notably, Ben Stokes has remained in pain since February, whereby during the New Zealand tour, he did not bowl much. Albeit, at this moment, he did mention bowling pain-free for the first time last week, when he bowled for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2023 match. Currently, he claims to be in a much better position and space and hopes to get fully fit for the coveted Ashes series.

"The main priority for me is making sure that I can fulfil my role as fourth seamer in the Ashes. I've had some good conversations with the people who are employed to look after us, body-wise. I said I'll be doing everything I can whilst I'm in India to make sure that when we get to the Ashes, I'll give myself the best opportunity to do my role. I'll do whatever I can to get myself through but, medical team, if there's anything you guys can do to help to get me through that, then please do," Stokes stated on his injury situation.

Speaking of England's bowling lineup, the host skipper wants to have at least eight bowlers in his bowler arsenal for the Test series. Keeping that in view, Stokes has directed the medical team to have the above-mentioned bowlers to be fully fit throughout the series. Moreover, he did not miss out on mentioning gun bowler Jofra Archer along with the legendary, James Anderson, and young pacers, Mark Wood and Olly Stone, respectively. He hopes that Archer will play red-ball cricket before joining the squad while the other two bowlers are all set to start their campaign with the ongoing County Championship.

"With our bowling group, I've asked the medical team to give us the best opportunity to have eight bowlers to select from for every game. I think this year's Ashes in particular, the games are quite close together. Being able to have those resources available every game is something I'm really keen to have," Stokes further added.

"I could pick a 20-man squad (right now) because that's how fortunate we are at the moment to be able to pick from this group of English players who are so good at the moment," Ben Stokes concluded.

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