Darren Gough
Darren Gough. (Photo: Getty Images)

Darren Gough feels that Ben Stokes’ addition to England‘s Ashes squad is a “huge positive” which makes their thin batting line-up look much stronger.

The superstar all-rounder will mark his return to international cricket with the all-important Ashes series in Australia in December. Stokes had been on a break since August to focus on his mental well-being and to tend to his finger injury.

He missed the home Test series against India, the second half of IPL 2021, and the T20 World Cup. England lost to New Zealand at home, and are currently trailing 2-1 to India; Stokes’ return will boost a batting line-up that has been heavily dependant on skipper Joe Root.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I’ll be honest with you, when the squad first came out I was seriously worried. I look at Australia’s bowling attack and then look at our batting and think ‘Oh my God!” Darren Gough told Mirror Sport.

“There was one guy [Root] who averages 50 and the rest average between 35 and 27. I was really looking at every negative at first but then I tried to look at the positives. Now Stokes is there I’m thinking that’s a huge positive. He’s our second-best batter, he’s got a great record against Australia and has the recent memory of Headingley [in 2019],” he added.

Don’t think Australia are in a good place themselves either: Darren Gough

Analysing the Australian team, Darren Gough opined that Tim Paine’s side has been underpinned on two batters – Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne – as they lost to a second-string India side earlier in the year at home.

Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne
Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“It’s going to be very difficult for England, but I don’t think Australia are in a good place themselves either. Their batting’s not as strong as it used to be and they’re going to rely on Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.

“They don’t know who’s going to open the batting with David Warner and we’ve seen his struggles against Stuart Broad [in the 2019 Ashes]. Tim Paine, the captain, is he good enough?” the former seamer added.

Darren Gough, though, had words of praise for Australia’s fearsome bowling attack.

“But one thing’s for sure, they’ve got a good pace attack and a good spinner which I’m not sure that we have yet,” he said.

The first Ashes Test is slated for Brisbane from December 8. Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are scheduled to host the next four Tests, however, that is subject to change.

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