Olly Stone, who made his comeback in the Chennai Test against India, has admitted that he is looking forward to claiming his place in England’s Ashes squad this year. While admitting that the pitches in India were tough for pacers, he added that it was a learning curve for him to be on the money.
At the age of 25, Olly Stone made his Test debut for England, in the home Test against Ireland, an encounter that would be remembered for the bowling-friendly pitch. In two Tests, the pacer has already accounted for seven wickets, including impressing the selectors with his performance in Chennai against India.
Following his impressive display in India, the pacer has been picked in the 15-man squad for the home Test series against New Zealand, where he would be in line to make his appearance for the Three Lions. While Olly Stone admitted that the short-term goal is to being involved in the New Zealand and India series, he added that his long-term goal would be to feature in the Ashes Down Under.
"I've heard so many good things about going down under and playing that series. That is the end goal but the short-term is being involved in these New Zealand Tests and then hopefully the India series as well. Hopefully, put my name forward for that trip to Australia. I'd like to try not to think about it too much, but I guess it you always do have that little thought about it. I'd be silly to say it's not on my mind," Stone told Cricbuzz.
On the field, Stone has, thus far, in just two Tests, shown his aggressive self, which has garnered the attention of the fans. The Warwickshire pacer stated that his aggressive part stems from the fact that he loves winning.
"I don't like losing. I love winning and I'll do anything to win. Maybe that's where that side of it comes out in me, especially when I've got ball in hand. You have to get up for a battle. If you are not up for it, your heart is not really in it. It is an important part for me to be able to run in and do the job I want to do."
While Stone wasn’t a first-choice option in India, an injury to Jofra Archer meant that the pacer made his return in the Chennai Test, where he struck in his first over with the ball. The series was notorious for the spin-friendly pitches, which didn’t quite help the seamers.
"I guess until you actually go out there and show that you can do it and prove to yourself that you can, you always, not worry, but have a little bit of doubt in your mind. Can you actually? So to go out there and perform the way I did was really pleasing," he added.
"The pitches being the way they are (in India), not as conducive for seamers, was a big learning curve for me with how on the money you have to be at that top level for every ball," Stone minced no words.
Before the series against India, plenty of talks surrounded Stone’s fitness but he responded to it in impeccable fashion, toiling in the hard conditions in India.
"I was never unfit but putting those extra yards in, working hard on my fitness, I can see how much of a difference that has made to keep bowling consistently in and around 90mph which is what I want to do," he concluded.