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Stokes wants ‘selfless’ cricketers on England test side

Ben Stokes. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Ben Stokes says he wants to lead a team of “selfless” cricketers as he plans England’s revival after being named new Test captain.

The 30-year-old all-rounder was tapped into the role last week after Joe Root resigned after a five-year tenure that culminated in a string of painful defeats.

Stokes, who was vice-captain to close friend Root, takes over with England, who have won just one of their last 17 Tests, and bottom of the World Test Championship.

Stokes’ first match in charge is against reigning Test world champions New Zealand, his country of birth, at the start of a series of three Tests on June 2 at Lord’s.

He accepts that changing England’s fortunes will be difficult.

“It’s challenging, especially after the last few years,” the Durham star told Sky Sports on Tuesday at the County’s Riverside Ground.

“There’s a lot that needs to change, not just on the field, and those discussions are being had.”

An all-rounder at pace bowling, Stokes is known for his passionate commitment to the team and seems keen on shaping a squad in his own image.

“I want to have selfless cricketers making decisions based on what they can do to win a game in that given time,” he said.

“You’re always judged on how you win games and the decisions I make are based on what we can best do to give ourselves that chance.

“I want to have 10 other guys with me who are in the same mindset.”

“Good and evil”

For all his successes on the field, Stokes has also seen turbulent times in his career.

He was arrested after a late-night incident in Bristol in September 2017 and then missed a tour of Australia before being acquitted of a beating charge.

“I’ve been through a lot of things since becoming a professional cricketer and I think those experiences in this new role that I have are positive,” Stokes told the BBC in a separate interview.

“I’ve been through a lot of good and a lot of bad and I feel like I can relate to both sides of what this sporting life can throw at you.”

There are fears that making Stokes – who took a break from cricket last year to “prioritize” his sanity – captain will overwhelm a player already carrying a huge workload.

And some observers have pointed to the unsuccessful reigns of Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff as evidence of the dangers of appointing a star all-rounder as England skipper.

However, Stokes said: “I’ve had to grapple with comparisons to Andrew Flintoff and Sir Ian Botham since I was 18 or 19. And I’ve always said I’m not trying to be one of them, I’m just Ben Stokes.”

Despite all of England’s struggles over the past 14 months, Root has been in superb form with the racquet, scoring 1,708 Test runs in 2021 with a 61 average and Stokes said he will use his experience.

“Joe is an older player in this group and will always go forward,” Stokes told Sky. “He has captained the team for (five) years so it would be foolish not to ask his advice.”

England controversially left record wicket-takers James Anderson and Stuart Broad out of their recent series loss in the West Indies, but Stokes hinted they would soon be back in tandem.

“When they’re fit, they get selected because they’re the top two bowlers in England,” he said. “They are two of football’s greats and belong to the best eleven. Pretty simple.”

Stokes wants ‘selfless’ cricketers on England test side

Source link Stokes wants ‘selfless’ cricketers on England test side

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