Ben Stokes becomes the 81st captain of the men’s English Test cricket team
He’s the man who almost everyone expected to be handed the England captaincy, but also the man who many felt wouldn’t be the right man for it.
After just under two weeks of speculation, Ben Stokes has been officially unveiled as England Men’s test cricket captain, replacing Joe Root who stepped down in mid-April.
Stokes was Root’s vice-captain since 2017, and this experience, combined with the fact he is one of only two or three players seemingly guaranteed to be in the side, means that his appointment as captain was logical.
The all-rounder from County Durham has been a glimmer of hope during what has been one of the worst periods in English test cricket’s recent history.
‘That’ innings at Headingly in 2019 single handedly won England a match and saved them from a series defeat to Australia.
Stokes scored an unbeaten century in the second innings to help seal a dramatic one wicket victory.
This was an example of Stokes carrying the weight of English test cricket on his shoulders, three years down the line he remains an integral part of the squad.
He has overcome the death of his father, taken a break from cricket to help his mental health, and come back to support his side.
Stokes being given the captaincy has, however, drawn concerns. He is a key player with the bat, ball and in the field.
Many critics have pointed out that with the captaincy added on top of this it may be too much for one player to take on.
Joe Root was met with a similar issue when he was handed the captaincy, and although his ability as a captain has been heavily critiqued both during and after his spell, he has sealed his place in history as one of the best batters ever to represent England.
The captain Root chapter has come to a close, but Stokes will still have the experience of the Yorkshireman to call upon.
Having the support of a former captain, and one who has scored a huge amount of runs over the years, will only be good for Stokes moving forward.
Stokes’ first move as captain was to call on the return of senior bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson into the fold, whether or not he gets his wish remains to be seen.
What did the new captain have to say about his appointment?
Following his appointment as England Men’s Test Captain, Ben Stokes spoke of his excitement of getting started in the role.
He said: “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.”
Stokes also gave thanks to the outgoing captain.
He added: “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.”
It has been a period of change for the men’s side, and new Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Rob 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.”
Ben Stokes is a passionate man who is one of the best English players to play the game in recent history.
He will undoubtedly give his all as captain, and he will be leading England’s Test cricket side into a new era at a time when it is badly in need of a renaissance.
It is a big year for English cricket, in all formats, and the men’s new Test captain will be at the heart of almost all of it.