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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Sonia Twigg

Can England take their swashbuckling approach to cricket into the Ashes?


England became the first Test side to secure a whitewash victory in Pakistan on their first tour of the country in 17 years, a meteoric rise from their dismal Ashes defeat last winter.

At the start of the domestic season, England had a disappointing record of just one win in 17 Test matches, and having lost the Ashes in just 12 days of cricket.

Here is a look at the first overseas tour under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.

What has changed?

England have won nine of their last 10 Tests and won all three series they have played. The team have revolutionised records, including scoring more than 500 in a single – and shortened – day’s play at Rawalpindi in the first Test. Their bold decision making and attacking cricket has managed to secure results on lifeless pitches, a stark contrast to England’s attempts at just surviving in Australia.

Who are the new personnel?

Stokes has taken over the England captaincy, with former New Zealand international McCullum as head coach, and Rob Key as managing director. They have been entirely cohesive in their messaging, focusing on playing cricket to entertain, rather than a fixation on individual match results. James Anderson and Stuart Broad who were dropped for the series in the West Indies in March were recalled, along with Ben Duckett, while Harry Brook, Rehan Ahmed, Liam Livingstone and Will Jacks have all received maiden Test caps.

How far has it come?

The dressing room atmosphere has been transformed, with players relaxed, happy and all in full support of the message – a stark contrast to the Ashes last winter. Despite battling illness throughout the series in Pakistan, the team have all pulled together, with numerous players praising Stokes’ man-management style throughout the series.

How revolutionary is it?

England’s new style of cricket has caught the attention of the cricketing world, and provided a fresh approach to the game’s oldest format. While no country has yet tried to emulate the feats of Stokes’ England side, they have certainly taken notice.

Can it work in the Ashes?

The big Test for any English cricketing side is the Ashes. It is a series which attracts the highest media attention, even from those who would usually flick past the cricket pages at the back of the newspaper. Australia are due to visit in June, and they will certainly meet a very different England side than the one they beat Down Under a year ago.

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