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Stokes won't get ahead of himself

By Dominic Farrell

England all-rounder Ben Stokes is refusing to take his international future for granted.

Amid the gloom of the tourists' Ashes and limited-overs internationals series defeats in Australia this winter, Stokes' displays with both bat and ball have provided a shaft of light.

On the back of a maiden Test century in Perth and a first-innings return of 6-99 at Sydney, the Durham man became the third England player in history to score 70 and take four wickets in the same one-day international when the tourists finally tasted success - at the WACA.

As the prospect of a new generation of Test players entering the England set-up over the coming months draws closer, many observers view Stokes as a potential cornerstone of that rebuilding process. However, it is not a standpoint that the 22-year-old shares.

"Whenever I have been given the opportunity (in Australia) I wanted to go out there and put my foot down and do well," Ben Stokes told ecb.co.uk

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: "Among the group I feel at home, but I've nowhere near cemented my place in any of the teams so hopefully I get chance to do that.

"Whenever I have been given the opportunity (in Australia) I wanted to go out there and put my foot down and do well; I always went out there with that intention.

"Luckily on a few occasions I did. It's been okay on a personal level, just very disappointing in the bigger picture that we haven't played very well as a team."

Having toured Australia with England Lions a year ago, Stokes found a familiarly challenging environment this winter and feels the unrelenting nature of the cricket played Down Under has provided a valuable, if steep, learning curve.

"The conditions from when I played out here last were pretty similar," he said.

"It's a tough place to come and play cricket, especially when 90 per cent of the crowd don't like you just because you play for England.

"When it's not going your way that makes it even tougher. There's been a lot learnt on this tour."

Despite those series reverses, Stokes insists the belief and desire to once again amass a run of victories remains for England, whose next assignment is a limited-overs tour of the Caribbean starting later this month.

"Not at all, I don't think it's dented anyone's confidence," he added. "It's unfortunate to lose so heavily but everybody wants to win.

"The feeling of finishing a game of cricket and being a winner can be very addictive and it is a great feeling. You always want to feel that so hopefully we can get that feeling back."

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