Just under two weeks after Joe Root announced his resignation, the England all-rounder and Ashes hero Ben Stokes has been named as his successor.
Root stepped down from his role on Good Friday after a year of disastrous Test results for the England side.
The Yorkshireman has been England’s most successful captain with more Test wins than any other of his predecessors but 2021 leading into 2022 saw one of the worst runs in recent history of English cricket with just one Test win in their last 17 matches.
Having initially expressed his desire to stay both after the 4-0 Ashes defeat and 1-0 West Indies loss, one felt as if Root’s announcement might have been a sign he jumped before being pushed.
His vice-captain has now been appointed his successor and will lead England during their Test series against New Zealand in June.
The appointment also comes shortly after former Kent batsman Rob Key was named as the new managing director of men’s cricket.
The all-rounder Ben Stokes has 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.”
Stokes was the most natural successor after Root made the announcement with Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad also rumoured to have been on a list (if one were to have existed) but as Broad pointed out, the bowler had a bigger focus of getting back into the team before turning to any thoughts of captaincy.
The 30-year-old all-rounder has 5,061 Test runs for England at an average of 35.89 as well as taking 174 wickets and has on numerous occasions bailed his team out of what has seemed a hopeless situation.
2019 was the year that Stokes found himself to become an icon of English cricket. He had returned after the infamous Bristol nightclub incident and regained the vice-captaincy just a few months later.
He re-established himself as a firm leader of the team and produced two of the most heroic innings ever seen in the space of a month.
Three years after bowling one of his most disastrous ever overs at the 2016 T20 World Cup, Stokes led England to their first ever ODI Cricket World Cup win.
England looked on the brink of defeat when Stokes came out and scored 84 off 98 before he and Jos Buttler then went on to score 15 in the Super Over, winning England the match.
Just a month after proving himself to be England’s World Cup hero, Stokes then went and became an Ashes icon, saving England from defeat once again.
During the third Ashes Test match at Headingley, England needed a record 359 to save them from a series defeat.
England needed 73 more runs when Jack Leach came onto the pitch as the last man and the pair put on a stunning performance with Leach scoring just one of those 73 runs and Stokes hitting 135 not out to save, not just the Test match, but England’s hopes in the Ashes.
This will also not be the first time Stokes has captained his country. The 30-year-old Durham all-rounder stood in when Root was absent for the birth of his second child. The side ultimately lost the match against the West Indies, but he also captained an extremely successful 3-0 ODI series win against Pakistan, with England’s ‘third XI’ when the England camp suffered a Covid outbreak in 2021.
Stokes’s new boss, Key, has said: “I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben. He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-bull cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity.”