Ben Stokes set for England captaincy as Rob Key prepares to outline vision at Lord's

England’s new managing director Rob Key is set to appear in front of the media as he looks to outline his vision for the men’s side, starting by handing the captaincy over to Ben Stokes.

From the day Joe Root stepped down as captain, Stokes has been the immediate favourite to succeed the Yorkshireman. However, with a leadership hole at the top of the England and Wales Cricket Board, no decision could be made until Key's appointment was officially confirmed. 

It is understood that Key and Stokes have held positive talks about the captaincy role in Durham earlier this week, with the 30-year-old possibility confirmed as the new England captain as early as Thursday.

Stokes has been Root's right-hand man, but his decision to follow in his teammate's footsteps was not a given. The World Cup winner already has his hands full as a full-blooded all-rounder, and last year he decided to take a four-month break from the sport for mental health reasons.

However, with most other captaincy contenders lacking experience, form or a current place in the England squad, Stokes does appear to be the natural successor for the captaincy role.

Key is due to face the media as the new managing director for the first time on Thursday, although it's not certain whether Stokes' captaincy will be rubber-stamped in time for the press conference.

Rob Key of walks around the edge of the pitch

The 42-year-old is likely to face questions about the ongoing recruitment process for specialist red and white-ball head coaches. However, with less than five weeks until the first Test of the summer against New Zealand, Key is certainly fighting against the clock.

As things stand, former South Africa and India head coach Gary Kirsten is among the favourites to take over the red-ball coaching role. The current Gujarat Lions (Indian Premier League) and Welsh Fire (The Hundred) coach was rejected by England four years ago when Chris Silverwood took the job.

Graham Ford, Mahela Jayawardene, Simon Katich and current assistant coach Paul Collingwood are all also in contention.

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

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