England have confirmed that Ben Stokes will take over from Joe Root as the men’s Test captain.
Root stood down from the role on Good Friday after five years following England’s 1-0 series defeat against West Indies, citing the toll and impact of leading the team. With England having recorded only one win in their last 17 Tests, the newly installed managing director of men’s cricket, Rob Key, has wasted no time in turning to the most obvious candidate to succeed Root in the all-rounder Stokes.
“I am honored 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 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’s first Test as permanent England captain will be at Lord’s against the world champions, New Zealand, starting on 2 June.
The 30-year-old has been a talismanic player for England across the Test and one-day game, from the nail-biting innings that set up the 2019 World Cup win to his match-winning century at Headingley against Australia a few weeks later . The Durham all-rounder has 5,061 Test runs at an average of 35.89 and has taken 174 wickets.
His career appeared under threat during a turbulent time off the field in 2017-18 when he was arrested, charged but ultimately found not guilty of affray after a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol following an international one-day game.
Since his return in 2018 he has regrouped and re-established himself as a leader within the team, regaining the vice-captaincy during the summer of 2019. He stood in 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 epitomizes 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.”