The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday formally named Ben Stokes as the new Test captain. The 30-year-old all-rounder will take over the top job from the outgoing Joe Root, who stepped down earlier this month. (More Cricket News)
Stokes' appointment was widely expected. He had been vice-captain across two spells since 2017. In 79 Tests, he has scored 5,061 runs and taken 174 wickets. His first assignment as permanent England captain will be against New Zealand at Lord's, starting June 2.
Congratulations to our new Men's Test captain, @benstokes38! 🏴🏏— England Cricket (@englandcricket) April 28, 2022
England then face India in the rescheduled fifth Test in July. It will be followed by Test series against South Africa in August and September.
Notably, Stokes took a break in July last year citing mental health issues and to recuperate from a finger injury. He missed the Ashes series Down Under, which England lost 4-0.
"I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team," said Stokes. "This is a real privilege, and I'm excited about getting started this summer."
Stokes made his Test debut in December 2013 in the Ashes against Australia, and was named vice-captain in February 2017. He also stood in as England captain when Joe Root was absent for the birth of his second child in 2020.
"I want to thank Joe Root for everything he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world," added Stokes.
England have struggled since the start of the 2021-2023 World Test Championship. They have suffered ignominious defeat against traditional rivals, Australia in the Ashes. It was followed by a series defeat against the West Indies.
"I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben," said Rob Key, England's new managing director. "He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket."
Ben Stokes' first real test however will be to assemble England's best playing XI. England toured West Indies without their two most successful bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Also, Joe Root remained their most reliable batter.
England are ninth and last on the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 standings. They are winless in nine Tests and have only one won of their past 17 matches.
Meanwhile, England are set to return to a split-coaching structure after ECB's Key made his first major decision by advertising for two new head coaches.
Gary Kirsten, Graham Ford and Simon Katich are touted to be prime candidates. The deadline for applications for the head coach roles is May 6.