England need to hit the ground running at Edgbaston - Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes chats to Jofra Archer during England's nets session Getty Images

England must "hit the ground running" if they are to regain the Ashes, Ben Stokes believes.

England boast an outstanding record at Edgbaston, the venue for the first Test. They have won 11 international matches in succession at the ground and haven't been beaten by Australia in any format there since 2001.

So, Stokes believes, England must take the opportunity to put Australia's players - not least the three who have returned to the side following suspension for their involvement in the sandpaper scandal - under pressure and prevent them building any confidence.

"You can't feel your way into any Ashes series," Stokes says. "You have to hit the ground running. That first morning is when you want to stamp your authority on the series with bat and ball. Getting off to a good start can make it flow throughout the series, so you want to be the team on top and you want to win that first day. If you go 1-0 down in a series it can be hard to come back from.

"It's definitely important to put them under pressure if they bat first. Davey Warner is a player who can take games away from you. He is a phenomenal batsman and very dangerous opener so to tie him down and not let him establish his authority against us would be a really big plus for us for the rest of the series. The drive is going to be there for him to perform. And it will be the same for Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith.

"We don't want to give anything away to any of their batsmen. We want to let them know we are here to be serious and everyone in the changing room is desperately trying to get that urn back because it's not good them having it.

"There's no time for easing into a spell or finding your way with the bat, you have to be switched on from ball one. Even if we bat first, and you're in the middle-order, you have to be switched on."

You wonder if there is something of a Freudian slip in that last sentence. It implies, perhaps, that England's top-order are so fragile, the middle-order have to be prepared to bat far more quickly than might normally be the case. And while Stokes would, of course, refute such an interpretation, it is clear he believes it will be a bowler-dominated series. A combination of the Dukes ball, the wretched weather and some seamer-friendly surfaces are likely to create short, low-scoring games.

"You saw Lord's: it was a bowler's paradise," he says. "So if two of our guys can step up and get three or four hundred runs in the series it will massively help our chances. It's going to be a batsman than wins the urn."

While Stokes admits he felt "sad" after the World Cup, he insists the decision to rest him from the Ireland side has left him refreshed and raring to go for what he refers to as "the biggest Test series in the world."

"It was two days after the World Cup," he says. "I was playing golf and everything had calmed down. I was sat in the buggy and said to Tom Curran that I was sad that it was over. You think about how much effort had gone into it over four years. The seven weeks to then lifting the World Cup was absolutely brilliant but it was a real come down because we cannot relive that feeling of walking around the outfield at Lord's.

"I did not play that Test match against Ireland. I felt I needed time away; time at home. I needed to be in my own house, in my own bed and be with the family to recharge my batteries. That helped me. It was probably a week later I could concentrate on the Ashes.

"The night before the series is the worst. Sleeping pills are the best way to describe it. You're anxious and there's excitement. And then you get out there for the warm-up and that's special. The first morning of an Ashes series is one of the greatest sporting environments you can be in. It's hard to explain. It is awesome."

He is unconvinced by Australia's new approach. And he suspects that, once the action begins, the smiles will be replaced by the more familiar snarls.

"It is weird Aussies trying to be nice to you," he says. "But once you get out in the middle the real competitive side of both teams will come out. It's the biggest Test series in the world. The scrutiny is greater; the criticism is greater; the praise is greater. Both teams are desperate to win; both sides of players are desperate to perform. There is always something that happens between the teams and I don't think this will be any different. I can assure you there will be some sort of theatre that goes on."

And he hopes to be at the centre of it.

"That is the great thing about being an allrounder," he says. "You can impose yourself on the game with bat and ball. Your day is never over so being able to influence a game by going out scoring runs or bowling a fiery spell to get a wicket is something I enjoy."

He is sure to have plenty to get his teeth into over the next six weeks.