Stokes To Be Appointed New England Captain


- Grant Whittington

Big news in cricket this week is that Ben Stokes is expected to be named England’s new Test captain later this week.

Rob Key is expected to make the announcement, which will be his first media conference since being appointed the MD of men’s cricket in the country.

Key reportedly offered the position to the New Zealand-born Stokes on Tuesday. Even though the powerful all-rounder has in the past played down ambitions for captaincy, he accepted the position during face-to-face talks with the team’s management.

Stokes’ Rubber-Stamp Official

While appointing a new Test captain must first be signed-off by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Key’s mandate makes the appointment of Stokes a formality.

For Stokes, the situation has always positioned him as the solid favourite for the role. He takes over from former Test captain Joe Root after a 5-year tenure.

Stokes has previously captained England’s Test side. He did this when the West Indies defeated the national men’s side by four wickets in Southampton two years ago. During this time, Root had been on paternity leave.

Even though that occasion had been Stokes’ only stint as captain of first-class match, the New Zealander has long been a leading force in the dressing rooms.

Stokes’ first run as permanent English Test captain will be against his native New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2. Whether or not Stokes will be joined by a head coach remains to be seen.

Interviews for the appointment of a new head coach will only commence on May 9. Those currently vying for the post include Simon Katich, Graham Ford, and Gary Kirsten.

Root An Unlikely Vice-Captain

The other remaining role that needs to be filled is that of vice-captain for the Test side.

Root isn’t expected to run for the position as he has stated his intention of focusing on improving his batting game. This leaves only Jonny Bairstow as the remaining likely incumbent for the position following centuries recently scored in Antigua and Sydney.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson, meanwhile, are both expected to feature in the summer’s Test make-up for England. Stokes is understood to be in support of the pair returning to the fold following their dropping from the Caribbean Tour.

The inclusion of the two veterans will likely also be addressed by Key this week.

Whichever way the chips may fall, the expectation will be high in terms of the announcement of a plan to fill the leadership vacuum at the top of the England Cricket Board – this after Ian Watmore resigned from his role as chair in October last year.

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