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World Test Championship

Stokes addresses England captaincy speculation and heaps praise on outgoing Root

England News

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Ben Stokes has been heavily linked with the vacant England Test captain position and has spoken about the role as well his friend and teammate Joe Root’s decision to step down.

Writing in his column for British newspaper the Daily Mirror, Stokes revealed how he found out about Root’s decision to stand down as England captain last week.

"When my phone started ringing and I saw Joe’s name flash up, I didn’t know what to expect. But when he said: 'Mate, I just wanted to let you know before it becomes official…' I knew what was coming.

"As you can imagine it was quite an emotional conversation, but it wasn't a long chat, there will be time for that in the future," Stokes said. "This was an emotional few minutes and in return there was nothing but love, respect and support from me because that is what Joe Root has shown me throughout his time as England Test captain.

"When I took my break from the game in 2021, Joe was brilliant. The cricket came second, his concern was for my well-being.

"And going back a few years now to the Bristol incident, that was where my captain really went to bat for me. That is where my total loyalty towards Joe comes from, and he will always have it because he has never been anything but a good man towards me and the rest of his players."

Ben Stokes is one of the players tipped to take over as England captain
Ben Stokes is one of the players tipped to take over as England captain

Root captained England more than any other player in Test history, winning more matches as captain (27) but also losing more (26) than any of his predecessors.

And having stepped down as skipper, Root can now look to continue his stunning form with the bat, form that saw him score more runs in 2021 than any English men’s batter had in any previous calendar year, earning him the ICC Men’s Test Cricketer of the Year award.

"Now that he has stood down, I fully expect him to continue his brilliance with a bat in hand and show why he is the greatest batsman we’ve ever produced," Stokes said.

"We are lucky to have him and he’s still got so much to offer English cricket."

Stokes has been tipped by many, including England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, to take over from Root. But, for now, the all-rounder isn’t publicly touting for the job.

"I know there will be lots of speculation around who will take over, and clearly as vice-captain and someone who has stood in on a few occasions my name will be strongly talked about," Stokes said.

"But all I will say is that it is a huge honour to captain England and whoever does it will get to enjoy that responsibility of trying to take the team forward.

"The decision will be down to Rob Key as the new managing director of men’s cricket and I’m sure we’ll talk soon enough, as he will with other players and support staff.

"It is an exciting time for us all, at the start of a new era for the Test team. I’m back in the nets now and training ahead of my first game for Durham in the next couple of weeks and I can’t wait."

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