London: England’s World Cup hero Ben Stokes was Tuesday named captain for the opening Test against West Indies. Ben Stokes will lead the side in place of Joe Root. The latter has taken leave to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. Stokes has never led a side in first class cricket. Hence it will be a novel experience for the star all-rounder when England and West Indies lock horns. The opening Test of the three-game series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton begins July 8.
“Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes has been Root’s Test vice-captain since his appointment last July. He will captain the side for the first time in Southampton,” the ECB said in a release. Jos Buttler who is the vice-captain of the England limited overs squads will now be Stokes’ deputy. The ECB also added that Root will have to self-isolate for seven days at home once he leaves hospital with his family.
“Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves hospital with his family. He will join up with the England squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford Monday 13 July,” the ECB stated. The mainstay is expected to be available for the second Test, which starts July 16.
Stokes could thus become England’s least-experienced captain in their history. He has never captained in a first-class, List A or T20 game.
Stokes had earlier said that he won’t change his playing approach even if he is handed England’s captaincy. “I hope that I always try to set the example in terms of attitude and commitment. If I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things,” Stokes had said.
Stokes had a phenomenal run in the past one year. He helped England to the World Cup final victory and played a key role in his side’s stunning Ashes win over Australia at Headingley.
The 29-year-old, who has played 63 Tests since 2013, said positivity influences his conduct on the field and it will continue.