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Stokes sheds bad boy tag

- by AAP

Sent home from Australia by the England Lions last summer for breaking curfew, all-rounder Ben Stokes is back with a new attitude and is charging towards a possible Test debut in Adelaide next week.

The 22-year-old said on Thursday it had been an easy decision to knuckle down and do what England coach Andy Flower had asked and prove that he was on the right track.

Stokes is one of three batsmen vying for a place in the touring team for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide following the return home of Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness.

And the seamer has a big chance to impress England's management in the two-day game against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI starting in Alice Springs on Friday.

"A lot's been said about (being sent home), but when I did get back, I set my mind on putting everyone (else's) minds right," said Stokes, who has played 10 one-day internationals for England.

"Making sure that they knew I did want to play for England and get back in the team. I think I've done the right things and gone about it the right way and here I am today.

"Three guys have the chance to get into that No6x. Whether it's me, or Gary Ballance or Jonny Bairstow, but we've got the next two days to go out there and put our hand up."

Stokes says the punishment in February was a huge wake-up call in his career.

"I did set myself out to change it all around and get Andy Flower thinking, ‘This guy's serious in what he wants to do’," Stokes said.

"You put in the hard work and you get rewards. I looked at the bigger picture and thought, ‘I'm in this profession to play at the highest level’.

"So it wasn't hard to go away to make sure that I did those things because if I didn't, I probably wouldn't be where I am now."

Kiwi-born Stokes says the England-Australia contest is the pinnacle of the sport for the two competing nations.

"It's what every cricketer wants to be a part of - an Ashes series - and if I didn't think I was ready, I'd be taking a long, hard look at myself," he said.

Stokes says just sitting on the bench and running out drinks at the Gabba in last week's first Test gave him a buzz.

Meanwhile, England are considering naming two wicketkeepers on Friday, with Matt Prior to play as a batsman only after scoring nought and four runs in the Ashes opener.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

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