Ahead of the Ashes series, which is scheduled to begin on December 8 in Brisbane, former India cricketer, Saba Karim has stated that England should not expect too much from their all-rounder, Ben Stokes. Speaking on Australia’s new Test captain, Karim stated that Pat Cummins was the obvious choice.
The Ashes series 2021-22 is set to begin from December 8, and England will be looking forward to replicating their success in the series from 2010-11, while Australia will be eyeing their third successive series victory against their arch-rivals. The biggest positive for the England team ahead of the Ashes will be the return of Ben Stokes to competitive cricket after five months.
Ben Stokes had opted out of the game for an indefinite period to focus on his mental well-being and to nurse an injured finger. Stokes had injured his left index finger during the first half of IPL 2021, after which he participated in the home ODI series against Pakistan and for Northern Superchargers in the Hundred. He subsequently missed the home Tests against India, and remained unavailable for the IPL 2021 second leg and the recently concluded T20 World Cup 2021.
Meanwhile, former Indian cricketer Saba Karim stated that England should not have too many expectations from Ben Stokes for the upcoming Ashes series. He further added that Stokes is an instrumental and influential figure in the English dressing room.
"The way forward for the England set-up is to have a very open and transparent communication system with Ben Stokes. [They need to] just to keep track of how he's feeling, how he's coping with this pressure once again, and what kind of space he is in mentally. They should not have too many expectations from Ben Stokes because one doesn't know what transpired in the past that he had to take time off from the game and work on his mental health,” Karim told during a press call organized by Sony Sports
"They need to be extremely sensitive towards this kind of a comeback from Ben Stokes because he remains such an instrumental and influential figure in the English dressing room. And there's a tendency to expect the same kind of performance from someone like Ben Stokes, something he has produced in the past. It may not be so easy but if Ben Stokes and the English team management work together in tandem, then I am one can see the best possible outcome for the English team," explained Karim.
Cricket Australia officially appointed Pat Cummins as Australia's new Test captain, after Tim Paine recently resigned from the role after the emergence of a texting episode from four years ago. Speaking on Australia’s newly appointed Test captain, Karim reckoned that Cummins was the obvious choice and that the cricket board has long-term goals in mind with the speedster at the role.
"Yes (he was my first choice as well) because he was the vice-captain. I think he has been touted very highly from the Australian media to the Australian selectors and the former cricketers. He carries with him some stellar performances for the Australian side. I think that's the reason why they have named him Cummins as the captain. I am sure they have a long-term future for him in mind. They want to build a side around him as the captain. This bodes really well for Australian cricket," said Karim.