Ahead of the first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s in London, home team captain Ben Stokes has made a big statement on former captain Joe Root. Stokes replaced Root last month when the squad for the New Zealand Tests was announced. Root had stepped down as Test captain after a series of losses in away series, including Ashes and defeats in India and West Indies.
In Stokes, England have put in their faith to build a squad for future and alongwith new coach Brendon McCullum take team to greater heights. But will the transfer of powers from Root to Stokes be a smooth one? Stokes says Root will always be his side.
“He (Root) says he is always going to be there, offering support and stuff like that, but he also said he doesn`t want to feel like he`s getting in the way,” Stokes was quoted as saying on ESPNcricinfo.
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) April 29, 2022
“He just wants to let me be me, and I said the same to him: `Mate, just concentrate on your batting now, you don`t have all the extra responsibility on your shoulders. Don`t feel like you have to come to me, just concentrate on getting your runs, and I will come to you when I need some advice,` he added.
The 30-year-old cricketer from Durham said that under his leadership, he wants his players to play freely.
“I just want everyone to feel free under my captaincy,” Stokes said.
“Obviously there has been talked around the word `reset`, which is something I don`t particularly like. I just see this as a complete and utter blank canvas for this Test team going forward,” he added.
“We have got so much experience in that dressing room, with myself, Joe, Broady, Jimmy, Jonny [Bairstow], and at the other end we`ve younger lads with inexperience, but this is our time. We are going to dictate how things go, going forward. There is nothing on this blank canvas. Everyone is starting fresh now, whether you are Matt Potts or Stuart Broad or Jimmy Anderson,” Stokes added.
The first Test begins on June 2 (Thursday). The action will move to second Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham where the match will be played from June 10 to 14. The last Test match will take place in Headingley, Leeds from June 23 to 27. Ben Stokes and Co will be looking to start a new phase in England’s red-ball cricket on a positive note with a series win at home.