Ace all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named the England Test captain, and is taking over from Joe Root.
Root, who had been captain for 5 years, stepped down after England’s 1-0 series defeat against West Indies, citing the toll and impact of leading the team. With England having won one in their last 17, the new managing director of men’s cricket, Rob Key, has immediately turned to Stokes.
His first assignment as England Test captain will be against World Champions New Zealand at Lord’s beginning 2 June. England are currently bottom of the table in the 2021-23 World Test Championships.
During the tour of Australia, Stokes had said he was not interested in the captaincy.
“I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team. This is a real privilege, and I’m excited about getting started this summer,” said Stokes.
“I want to thank Joe [Root] for everything he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world. He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role.”
Stokes has been one of the mainstays in the England set-up across formats and has played big roles in helping win the 2019 World Cup and also the Ashes Test after that with a match-winning century against Australia.
He had captained the side when Root was absent for the birth of his second child in the summer of 2020, and while England lost that Test against West Indies, they won all three of the ODIs against Pakistan when he stepped in for Eoin Morgan as captain during a covid outbreak in 2021.
Key said, “I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben. He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity.”
Incidentally, when India go to England to complete the five-match Test series, both teams will have new captains as Root and Virat Kohli have handed over the baton to Stokes and Rohit Sharma.
Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive officer, said: "I am delighted that Ben has agreed to become England Men's Test captain, which is another great achievement in his extraordinary career in an England shirt. "He cares deeply and passionately about what it means to represent England and he will lead us into a new era with great pride. It's an important summer for our Test side and Ben will I am sure relish the challenge before him and his team."