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Ashes: England must be brave with the bat if they are to turn things around, says Watson

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Melbourne, Dec 23 (IANS) Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson believes that England have to be brave with the bat if they wish to make a turnaround in the rest of the Ashes. He added that the tourists have not shown intent with the bat and been defensive with their mindset.

England are 2-0 down in the Ashes, losing by nine wickets in the first Test at Brisbane followed by a crushing 275-run loss in the second Test at Adelaide.

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“If England are to turn things around in this Ashes series their batsmen are going to have to be braver. So far, and especially in the second Test in Adelaide, the intent has just not been there. They have had a very defensive mindset. When you are batting at your best, you are always looking to score, even if someone bowls really well. The energy that you have at the crease to put pressure on the bowling side is all-important,” wrote Watson in his column for The Times on Thursday.

Watson was also surprised over the batting approach of vice-captain Ben Stokes in the Ashes. Coming back to the game after a long break to take care of mental well-being and heal from a finger injury, Stokes has made 34, 12, 5 and 14 with the bat. With the ball, he has registered figures of 0/65, 3/113 and 0/24.

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“What has really blown me away is to see the defensive way in which Ben Stokes has batted. I’m gobsmacked. It goes against everything that he is – the person he is, the player he is. It is obviously a tactic because of his big back-and-across movements to the quick bowlers; he’s just not trying to score.”

Watson thinks that lack of preparation might be the reason behind Stokes being away from his usual self on-field.

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“I’m racking my brain as to why this would be his game plan. I think it is perhaps because he has come into the series underdone in terms of preparation. Maybe he’s trying to find his way into the series by spending time in the middle. But the Australian bowlers are just dictating play. They can bowl wherever they want. He’s not going to score. At some stage he is going to get out and without having really made an impact on the scoreboard,” he wrote.

The 40-year-old signed off by saying Stokes is unstoppable when he is fearless and in his groove against any type of bowling.

“When he is at his best he’s got no fear, he’s taking the bowling on no matter what the conditions, and he has such incredible skill that it doesn’t matter whether he’s facing spin or the quicks. The bowlers have to bowl the perfect ball otherwise he’s all over it because he’s got shots all around the ground,” he said.

–IANS

–nr/inj

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