Stokes: 2021 is a year full of hopes and dreams, and I can’t wait to get started

It seems like we could say this about every year, but with the first cricket fixtures about to get underway for England in 2021, this really could be an epic year.

There is always the chance to make a new piece of history, but with Test series against Sri Lanka, India (twice) and the Ashes to come, not to mention a T20 World Cup, and maybe even a World Test Championship final, there is plenty to get excited about.

And if we can get the crowds in to watch again in decent numbers that would be amazing. We know they are missing it and I can promise you we are missing the fans too.

There are no guarantees that everything will go ahead as we hope because there are still so many issues at play with coronavirus.

But if we are lucky enough to play the cricket we hope to and we manage the bio-bubbles as well as we can, and we turn in the sort of performances that we are capable of, then 2021 has the chance to be a year to remember.

I've never really been one for setting too many targets or goals, and certainly not of an individual kind, but there are a couple of things I would like to achieve before I'm done and this year could see them both happen.

In Test cricket there is the Ashes home and away for both teams which is the pinnacle, but for me and for a lot of other cricketers around the world, playing India in India is a huge challenge and if you can win out there, that is one of the biggest triumphs you can achieve.

If you can beat India on their home turf then that is something to treasure in your career because it doesn't come around very often at all and everyone knows just how hard it is to win over there.

That will be my first challenge of the year in February after being rested for this first tour against Sri Lanka. And then the Ashes Down Under will be the final hurdle of the year.

I've already been a part of a winning Ashes team in England and loved it, but now I'd love to taste that feeling over there too, in their own back garden. I doubt anything could be much sweeter.

When it comes to the white ball, it is all about T20 cricket this year in the same way it was all about 50-over cricket in the run up to the 2019 World Cup.

We're heading to India at the back end of the year to try and go one better than 2016 and it is fair to say we've got a chance.

We're currently ranked No.1 in the World for T20 cricket and while that doesn't guarantee anything it shows that we are one of the better teams at the moment and we're capable of winning games. If we can build on this throughout the year we'll be in great shape for that tournament.

There is a first tour to Pakistan before that, as well as the launch of a new tournament, The Hundred, in English cricket this summer.

I don't know how much of that I'll get to play but I'm looking forward to getting it started. No-one gave T20 cricket much notice when that first started and look at it now.

2020 was a tough year for so many people for a variety of reasons, but through it all I hope people enjoyed the cricket on show, I know we enjoyed the support from afar.

I hope this year things can eventually start to get back to a bit more normality for us all.

How will England fare in 2021? Have your say in the comments below

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