Stokes absence will not distract England from Ashes focus, says Anderson
ENGLAND (Reuters) – England are focused on getting the best out of their players and beating Australia during the Ashes tour and will not be distracted by the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes, seamer James Anderson has said.
Stokes is among England’s key match-winners but it is uncertain whether the 26-year-old will be available after he and team mate Alex Hales were arrested following an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub last month and released under investigation.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended both players following the incident and are yet to make a decision regarding their participation on the tour as England aim to win their first Ashes title in Australia since 2011.
“When we won the Ashes in 2010/11, we didn’t win it with 11 players – we won with 13/14/15 players,” Anderson told Sky Sports News.
”The biggest thing for us is we get 15 or 16 players to be on top of their game when we get to Australia and be able to perform for our team.
“Once we get there, the only focus will be beating Australia… It’s just a case of being strong enough and having that tunnel vision to focus on the individual and as a team and what will help the team win the series.”
Anderson, 35, reclaimed his number one ranking in test matches as he helped England seal a series win over West Indies last month.
“My own focus will be on my bowling and what I can do to help the team and I‘m sure all the other individuals in the side will do that. If we can do that then I‘m sure we’ll galvanise and put in a strong performance,” Anderson added.
The first of the five-test Ashes series starts on November 23 in Brisbane