Nick Compton: Stoneman needs to be a trump card for England
The general consensus is that apart from Joe Root and Alastair Cook, there are a lot of question marks regarding the top order.
Even Cook needs a big series in my opinion but there is even more focus on his opening partner, as well as the gaping holes at No 3 and No 5.
Put simply and spun positively, there’s a great opportunity for the new crop of batters to step up and grasp on to.
The reality is that these opportunities don’t come round every day for batsmen.
I’ve known very fine players wait in vain for years to get in the Test side whilst Alec Stewart, Mike Atherton, Graham Thorpe or Nasser Hussain were effectively permanent fixtures in the team due to their excellence in performance terms.
Of course you need to add into the mix too that this is the Ashes. Expectations are higher than for any other series – and the Australian support in a home series is a major factor too.
The coaching staff will want the starting line-up to perform from the off. This was clearly what they and the selectors had in mind when choosing the squad.
I think in Mark Stoneman, England are hoping to find the more aggressive partner they have been searching for to be the foil to Alastair Cook.
I like him as both a player and a person. I love his no-nonsense attacking nature and single-minded determination to not give up on his England dream after many years being disregarded by the selectors.
He has earned his opportunity through stealth. The Surrey opening batsman has already made an impact on the tour and scored a fine century against a Cricket Australia XI.
I think he could become a key player for England because the conditions will bring the best out of him. We may get off to the odd flier with his style of play!