Ben Stokes named as new England Test captain after Joe Root steps down

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Ben Stokes has been appointed England Test captain (Getty Images)
Ben Stokes has been appointed England Test captain (Getty Images)

Ben Stokes has been named as England’s new Test captain after Joe Root stepped down from the role earlier this month.

Rob Key, England’s new managing director of men’s cricket, confirmed the appointment at his first media conference on Thursday.

Key held face-to-face talks with Stokes and the 30-year-old all-rounder accepted the challenge, despite often playing down his captaincy ambitions in the past.

“I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team. This is a real privilege, and I’m excited about getting started this summer,” Stokes said.

“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.”

So often England’s talisman on the big stage, Stokes, who made his debut in December 2013, has represented England 79 times at Test level and was named vice-captain in 2017.

He was the clear favourite to succeed Root after the batsman called time on his five-year tenure following England’s disastrous Ashes performance and a torrid tour of the West Indies.

“I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben,” Key said of the appointment. “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.”

Stokes’ first appearance as captain will come against New Zealand, the country of his birth, in a three-Test series starting on home soil in June.

It remains to be seen whether Key will have appointed a new head coach by then, following the dismissal of Chris Silverwood, while Stokes will also require a vice-captain. Stuart Broad and James Anderson are both possible candidates with Stokes expected to bring the pair back into the fold.

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