Ben Stokes tipped for Australia Ashes tour

Ben Stokes could force himself into contention for Ashes selection with strong performances in the one-day series against Australia, says England bowling coach David Saker.

England bowling coach David Saker has hinted that Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes could force his way into the thoughts of the Ashes selectors with good performances in the one-day international series against Australia.

The first of England's five 50-over matches against the Aussies on Thursday was abandoned due to rain, but there is time for 22-year-old Stokes to impress, before England travel down under to defend the urn in November.

Alastair Cook's Test side suggested that they are thinking about including an all-rounder in their XI by handing a debut to Chris Woakes for the final match of the home series, and Saker has indicated that Stokes is another young prospect that they are considering for such a role.

"I'm sure everyone will be looking at these games a little bit with that Test squad in mind," Saker told reporters. "His bowling has improved - there is no doubt about that - and we are searching for players who can play that multi-task role.

"The more all-rounders you can have in the group, that's great. If they can do one of the roles really well - ie for him, it's bowling - that's a huge bonus.

"You can't always read a lot into white-ball cricket for red-ball cricket - but because there are some exciting players in our group, we're going to have a good look at them."

Stokes has averaged 33.70 with the bat and 25.46 with the ball for Durham in Division One of the County Championship this season.

Ian Bell plays a shot on day three of The Ashes at Trent Bridge.
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