England captaincy a 'learning curve' for Stokes, says Bairstow

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Ben Stokes will find the England Test captaincy to be a "learning curve", according to team-mate Jonny Bairstow.

But the Yorkshire batsman does not expect the Durham star to change much as a player now he has been given the armband.

Stokes gets his tenure as Joe Root's successor underway against New Zealand in the first match of a three-Test series this Thursday.

The all-rounder is looking to help reverse England's dismal form after a difficult few months.

"Not much will change from Ben Stokes the player," Bairstow told BBC Sport's Test Match Special.

"The way he goes about his bowling and his batting, it's all whole-hearted stuff and his captaincy will be the same. [But] it's going to be a learning experience for him as well.

"We need to understand and recognise that it's going to be a learning curve, but the experience that he's got around him, and the visions that he's got are great.

"If we can all pull together in the right direction, then it is going to be an exciting brand of cricket."

Stokes will hope to get his captaincy off to a winning start against the Black Caps at Lord's, though he has been handed a blow after Ollie Robinson tested positive for COVID-19.

The Sussex bowler had been omitted from the latest squad amid playing time concerns and his attempts to return to full fitness with a view to featuring in the third Test have suffered a setback.

New Zealand meanwhile could be without Henry Nicholls and Trent Boult, though both have been named in the tourists' 15-man squad.

The former has been recovering from a calf injury sustained in training before the team arrived, while the latter arrives this week after playing for Rajasthan Royals in Sunday's IPL final.

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