Stokes to lean on Root for captaincy advice after taking over as England Test skipper

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Ben Stokes is happy to call on Joe Root's advice as the all-rounder prepares to lead England's Test side.

Root was appointed as successor to England great Alastair Cook in 2017 and went on to win 27 red-ball matches while in charge of the team, which is a record.

However, Root also holds the record for the most red-ball defeats while captain of his country (26) and England have won only one of their past 17 Tests and are winless in five series in the longest format.

That dismal run of form, capped by a 1-0 series defeat to West Indies earlier this year, resulted in Root stepping down in April.

England are also without a coach, with Chris Silverwood having left his post following a 4-0 hammering in the Ashes, though former batsman Rob Key has now been appointed as the new managing director.

Root, whose own form was superb in 2021 as he scored 1,708 runs across 29 innings at an average of 61 and a strike rate of 56.85, is nevertheless set to remain a prominent member of England's Test team, and Stokes is pleased to have someone he hailed as a "great man" by his side.

Joe Root in 2021
Joe Root in 2021

"Joe phoned me before it became public about his decision. It was a very brief chat, it was probably not the right time to start reminiscing about everything while he was on the phone," Stokes said in an interview posted to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) official website.

"And then I phoned him before it became public that I'd taken it because I didn't want him to see it on social media.

"When Joe took over, I was made vice-captain, it was a really exciting time.

"I think there's a handful of players who I think will have respect after the game. Every player who's played under him, players in the future as well, will see what a great man he is. He's a real carer of people that he plays with.

"Our friendship goes beyond just being team-mates, we've known each other since we were 14 years old.

"I'm looking forward to working with him in a different capacity but I'll also be using him a lot because I've got a lot to learn about being captain."

While Stokes is aware that England's Test team needs a refresh after their poor run, his immediate priority is simple.

"I just want to win games," he said. "At the end of the day being a captain is about winning games, that's what you get judged on.

"Obviously you've got to mould the team, create a winning mentality, which you need to have at the top level, but my main goal, I think my duty is to win as many games as possible. That's my main goal."

Stokes' first matches in charge come in June, when England host New Zealand in a three-Test series.

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