Ben Stokes accepts England captain’s offer from Rob Key to start a new era for the Test side

The ECB board has to ratify the new chief executive’s decision, which should be a formality as Ben Stokes is set to replace Joe Root as captain after five years in office

Ben Stokes becomes England captain after holding talks with Rob Key
Ben Stokes becomes England captain after holding talks with Rob Key

Ben Stokes will lead England at Lord’s as the new Test captain after being offered the job by Rob Key.

Stokes was honored to accept the role, taking over from his friend and former skipper Joe Root, beginning a new era for the misfiring side.

With the decision taken, the ECB board must now ratify it before it is officially announced, as is the case with the appointment of a new England captain. And if the board can meet quickly enough virtually on Wednesday, Key may be able to announce the installation of Stokes as a test skipper at its first media conference on Thursday.

Stokes’ appointment is the first major step in Key’s tenure as chief executive of Men’s Cricket and was relatively straightforward. The couple spoke over the phone over Easter weekend when Key was confirmed in his post, with the captain already part of the conversation.

But it wasn’t until Key made the trip to the North East to see Stokes face-to-face on Tuesday that things were confirmed. They discussed plans for the future of the Test side, who are in dire need of a shot in the arm after their recent 1-0 defeat in the Caribbean.

And Key believes Stokes is the best man to provide it as the team’s new leader after Root’s resignation.

Stokes takes over responsibility for the test page from Joe Root


Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Stokes, who was leading the dressing room after 79 caps and countless games as a winner, was Roots vice-captain for most of his tenure.

But promotion to full-time job comes full-time for Stokes, who has had his ups and downs during his time as an England cricketer, not least in relation to the events in Bristol in 2017 and when he took time off from the game last year to check on his mental well-being.

Despite these periods away from the team, Stokes continues to be an integral part of the team and reaffirmed his commitment to Test cricket by retiring from the Indian First League to focus on Red Ball Cricket this season. He will play again for Durham against Worcestershire on May 5th.

Rob Key believes he has the right man to lead England Test side


Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Stokes has done the job as test skipper before, replacing Root, who was absent when their second child was born in 2020. The game ended in a narrow four-wicket loss to the West Indies at Southampton, but Stokes showed he had the qualities required to lead, not least when he insisted he was the one who brought Stuart Broad informed that he had been expelled from the team before the game.

Concerns about his workload as the team’s all-rounder were also allayed as he performed well in the game with both racquet and ball, but most importantly never overdid himself in the battle for victory. Stokes will become the first Durham player to hold the permanent position as England Test captain. Current director of cricket Marcus North describes him as someone who “will have the whole dressing room behind him”.

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