Stokes expected to be new England Test captain

Ben Stokes is expected to be named England Test captain later on Thursday, taking over from Joe Root.

All-rounder Stokes, 30, has scored 5,061 runs and taken 174 wickets in 79 Tests and had been vice-captain across two spells since 2017.

Batter Root, 31, stepped down after five years in charge, having led England in a record 64 Tests.

Stokes’ first Test as permanent England captain will be against world champions New Zealand at Lord’s on 2 June.

He previously captained England in the first Test defeat by West Indies in 2020 when Root missed the match to attend the birth of his second child.

Stokes also led the one-day international side to a 3-0 series victory over Pakistan last summer after a Covid outbreak forced England to name an entirely new squad.

He took a break from cricket in July for his mental wellbeing and to allow a finger injury to heal but returned to the England squad for the Ashes series.

Following England’s tour of the West Indies in March, Stokes has been suffering pain in his left knee, but is hoping to make a return for county side Durham in May.

New managing director of England men’s cricket Rob Key has appointed Stokes as captain in his first major act since taking over the role from Andrew Strauss, who had stepped in on an interim basis following the sacking of Ashley Giles in February.

England are also in the process of filling their head coach vacancy after Chris Silverwood was sacked in February following the 4-0 Ashes defeat by Australia in the winter.

England plan to appoint separate coaches for the Test and white-ball sides, a change to the recent set-up.

Root stepped down as captain earlier this month, citing the “toll” the job had on him, after a 1-0 series defeat by West Indies.

England are winless in nine Tests and have only one won of their past 17 matches.

After three Tests against New Zealand in June, England face India in the rescheduled fifth Test in July, before three Tests against South Africa in August and September.

Stokes’ journey to Test captain

Stokes made his Test debut during the 2013-14 Ashes in Australia, with the left-handed batter hitting his maiden Test century in his second match in Perth.

He missed the 2014 World Twenty20 with a broken hand sustained when punching a locker on a tour of the West Indies and subsequently drifted in and out of the England set-up, missing the 2015 50-over World Cup.

He returned to hit the fastest Test century seen at Lord’s – 101 from 85 balls against New Zealand in 2015 – before smashing England’s fastest Test double century against South Africa in January 2016.

The all-rounder was appointed Test vice-captain when Root took over the captaincy in 2017.

Stokes was arrested after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017, which led to him missing the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia and being stripped of the vice-captaincy. He was later found not guilty of affray and was reinstated as vice-captain in July 2019.

In the summer of 2019 Stokes played two incredible innings, first rescuing England in the final of their Men’s World Cup win and then producing his astonishing 135 not out against Australia in the Ashes at Headingley. The performances saw him named BBC Sports Personality of the Year that December.

In 2020 Stokes missed England matches for compassionate leave and later that year his father Ged died after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Stokes returned for England in the winter of 2020-21 but, after breaking his finger at the Indian Premier League and rushing back to captain a depleted side against Pakistan, he missed the entire series against India last summer after announcing an indefinite break.

After returning he had a difficult Ashes series, hitting two fifties and taking four wickets, but rediscovered his form with a brilliant century against West Indies in March.

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