Ben Stokes comments on ‘key ally’ Joe Root as he replaces him as England Test captain

Ben Stokes has been named Joe Root’s successor as captain of the England Men’s Test Cricket team. The England & Wales Cricket Board has appointed Stokes as the nation’s 81st captain after Root stepped down from the role earlier this month.

On April 16, Root cut his five-year tenure short with the most games (64) and wins (27) as an England Men’s Test skipper. The batter’s decision came off the back of just one win in England’s last 17 Test outings, with the most recent defeat coming in the West Indies in March.

Stokes, an all-rounder, has been vice-captain on two occasions since 2017. The 30-year-old Durham star has scored 5,061 runs and taken 174 wickets in 79 Tests for England. Speaking on his appointment, he expressed his excitement for the summer ahead.

“I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team,” Stokes explained. “This is a real privilege, and I’m excited about getting started this summer. I want to thank Joe [Root] for everything he has done for English Cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world. He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role.”

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Following the disappointing tour of the West Indies, Stokes is hoping to return to action from a knee injury for Durham in May. His first outing as permanent England Test captain will be against none other than the world champions New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2.

Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Rob Key, has admitted he didn’t hesitate to offer Stokes the chance to replace Root at the helm. He said: “I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben.

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“He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity.”

ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison added: “I am delighted that Ben has agreed to become England Men’s Test captain, which is another great achievement in his extraordinary career in an England shirt.

“He cares deeply and passionately about what it means to represent England and he will lead us into a new era with great pride. It’s an important summer for our Test side and Ben will I am sure relish the challenge before him and his team.”

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