England vs West Indies: Ben Stokes to lead by example as stand-in captain

MATT MAJENDIE
Evening Standard
ECB via Getty Images
ECB via Getty Images

Ben Stokes has pledged to replicate his aggressive play in his captaincy style when he stands in for Joe Root as skipper.

Root is set to miss the first Test against West Indies on July 8 for the birth of his second child, with Stokes lined up to act as his stand-in.

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And Stokes said of his own captaincy style: “I’d hope that I always try to set an example to lead by my attitude and commitment as an individual.

“I think even if I am in charge I’m not going to change how I go about things and influence the game, which is try to make it a positive effect with the ball or bat in hand.

"No matter what I do in terms of choosing what to do in a situation, it will always be the positive route.”

Stokes admitted his last captaincy role had come in an academy game against Scotland when he was 16.

But, 13 years on, he said he would like to be heavily involved in selecting the XI which plays under his leadership at the Ageas Bowl next month.

(ECB via Getty Images)
(ECB via Getty Images)

“I’d like to have a decent say in the final XI that is walking out onto the field,” said the England all-rounder. “I feel like we’re in a situation like one day before the World Cup where you could pick 16 guys but you can only pick 11. It’s a great place to be in. I just might not have as many friends after this Test match!”

As captain on England’s tour to South Africa, Root admitted it had become a struggle to get the ball out of Stokes’ hand - in Cape Town in particular - so fired up was he to make an impact in the game.

And Root’s one-off replacement admitted he would might need to rein himself in as a player for the good of the team in the opening Test.

“I might have to be more mindful as I’m the person making that decision,” he said. “With ball or bat in hand I like to think I’ll have the same mentality. I’ll think what did Joe expect of me to do in this situation? It’s a tough one isn’t it to know if you are feeling good as a bowler when to take yourself off or keep yourself on.”

Stokes readily admits that it was never his intention to lead England during his career but that he had grown into contention as an increasing leader in the side over the past five or six years.

But the Durham all-rounder said he was confident of using that experience to lead England in the best way possible.

“I think since playing more and being a more permanent member of the team… it makes you feel more senior and comfortable, being more confident at getting your views across,” he said. “When the senior players take on that advice and appreciate what you’re saying you start to realise that you’re becoming a senior member of the team.

“Since Joe’s taken over, that’s helped me think about the game outside of what I do. And I’ve got some really experienced guys on the field who I can use. I like to think I’d be quite an open captain. There’s 11 guys on the field so why not get 10 other opinions on what you’re thinking about.”

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