Rob Key: Joe Root replacement among priorities for England’s new managing director with Ben Stokes favourite

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Rob Key: Joe Root replacement among priorities for England’s new managing director with Ben Stokes favourite
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Rob Key has started his new role as England’s managing director of men’s cricket, with his early priorities finding a replacement for Joe Root as Test captain.

Key takes over the role vacated by Ashley Giles in January with a building to-do list before the First Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2.

It is likely that Key will appoint a new captain before a head coach — a role that will probably be split along red- and white-ball lines — is in place, because the field is narrower and the process simpler.

Ben Stokes is the favourite to succeed Root, who resigned on Friday. In his former life as a pundit, Key has said he believes Stokes would make a good captain, but there is no need to rush a decision, instead talking to players around the country before making an appointment.

Stokes has had a tumultuous few years, including taking four months out last year to manage an injury and his mental health. He already has plenty on his plate as an all-format all-rounder.

Stokes is the favourite on the basis that he has a reputation as a leader, and that most other candidates are felt to be outside the current XI.

Key must decide on the structure of his coaching team, but has previously indicated a preference for an independent selector, a role Giles made redundant last year when dismissing Ed Smith. That handed all responsibility to Chris Silverwood, the head coach who was fired in the wake of the Ashes.

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