London: Ben Stokes` last tour of Australia ended in ignominy but the England all-rounder claims he is back with a new attitude and ready for a dream debut in the second Ashes test at Adelaide.
Stokes was sent home from an England Lions tour of Australia in February for repeated misdemeanours but the New Zealand-born player has worked hard enough since to be part of a three-horse race for the number six slot in the England batting lineup.
The position became available when top-order batsman Jonathan Trott left the tour due to a stress-related issue earlier this week.
"(There are) three guys who have the chance to get into that number six spot," the 22-year-old Stokes told reporters on Thursday, a day ahead of the team`s two-day practice game in Alice Springs with the second test starting on Dec 5.
"Whether it`s me, or Gary Ballance or Jonny Bairstow... we`ve got the next two days to go out there and put our hand up," Stokes added.
Determined to make the most of an audition against a Cricket Australia Chairman`s XI, Stokes said being sent home for indiscipline served as a perfect wake-up call.
"I did set myself out to change it all around and get (team director) Andy Flower thinking `this guy`s serious in what he wants to do`," he 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."
Stokes watched from the sidelines as Australia thrashed England by 381 runs in the Ashes opener in Brisbane last week but still got a sense of the occasion just from carrying drinks at the Gabba.
"The intensity was really high," Stokes, who has played 10 one-day internationals, said.
"It was a great experience and something I`ll never forget."