England all-rounder Ben Stokes insists he will not shy away in the face of Australian attempts to rile him during the Investec Ashes series this summer.
The 24-year-old has reaffirmed his international quality this season with the standout moment coming against New Zealand at Lord’s in May when he struck an 85-ball Test century, while he also possesses the ability to bowl at 90mph. But his fiery temperament is also well-documented and exemplified by his on-field altercation with Australia seamer Mitchell Johnson on debut in 2013, while he broke his hand by punching a locker in the Caribbean.
Stokes also locked horns with batsman Marlon Samuels during England’s Test series in the West Indies earlier this year, and former England skipper Michael Vaughan has suggested the Australians will target his short fuse.
“It’s a strength,” said Stokes. “Being in battle, you don’t want to be a loser. I don’t want to take a backward step and let them know they are on top of me, or that they can say what they want and get away with it.
“I’m definitely expecting there to be some feuds out on the field. If anyone comes at you on the cricket pitch in the heat of the moment, when the adrenaline is going, I don’t think anyone in our squad is one to shy away from it.”
Stokes has bitter memories of the Ashes and the 5-0 whitewash series Down Under during the winter of 2013-14, but has been heartened by England’s showings against New Zealand this summer.
“My Ashes memories are not too good but we are taking a lot of confidence into this series,” added Stokes. “We are in a really good frame of mind at the moment and we want to carry on the good form we have strung together.”