Ben Stokes 'honoured' to succeed Joe Root as England Test captain

After Joe Root made the decision to step down as England captain earlier this month, Ben Stokes has been confirmed as his successor in the Test squad.

Following England's 4-0 thrashing in the Ashes earlier this year, Joe Root faced criticism over his leadership of the side, and the 31-year-old eventually handed over the captaincy of the Test side earlier this month.

It was the latest change to be made to the squad in wake of the Ashes defeat, with head coach Chris Silverwood and director of cricket Ashley Giles also losing their roles.

Rob Key has since replaced Giles in the director role, and he moved swiftly to replace Root as captain too, selecting Ben Stokes as his successor.

The 30-year-old all-rounder, who served as Root's deputy and led the side once before in 2020, is England's 81st Test skipper and was the overwhelming favourite to take charge of a team that has won just once in its last 17 Tests.

After being announced as captain, Stokes 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.

"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."

England's Ben Stokes after the second test is drawn

The Cumbrian has been considered one of the side's leaders for a while now, with Stokes producing some wonderful batting displays in the 2019 World Cup and Ashes.

Despite his lack of leadership experience, Stokes is undoubtedly a huge leader out on the field, and Key rallied behind his new captain, suggesting he has the right mentality to lead this side forward.

"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.

"I just think the time is right for him. He's been a leader in that dressing room for a long, long time. He's been the one that people turned to a lot of the time.

"He's a strong leader, he's got a good cricketing brain. Everything he's done has got him to this point.

"He's got a hell of a lot of empathy as well. For one of the great players, he cares about the people around him. He understands when people struggle, he understands when people might not be feeling great.

"All of those traits, as well as an outstanding cricket brain, make him the obvious choice."

Stokes' first Test as captain arrives in June, when England host New Zealand in a three-match series, starting with the first Test at Lord's.

While it's now confirmed that Stokes will lead the side on the field, a permanent head coach is yet to be confirmed, with Paul Collingwood currently taking interim charge of the side.

Key announced earlier this week that England would revert to the two-coach model that sees different coaches for red-ball and white-ball cricket.

READ MORE: England to appoint different head coaches for Test side and limited-overs squad

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