London: England’s charismatic all-rounder Ben Stokes could be unveiled as the new Test captain soon after Joe Root stepped down recently following the team’s humiliating losses in the Ashes and the away series in the Caribbean, a report said on Wednesday.
A report in iNews said that England men’s cricket’s new managing director, Rob Key had travelled to Durham for a “face-to-face” meeting with Stokes to “discuss the role”, and that the 30-year-old all-rounder could be officially unveiled as England’s new Test skipper “in the next 48 hours”.
Stokes has long been touted as Root’s successor, given his standing in the England side and also the fact that he enjoys a good rapport with the former captain.
Stokes himself had said recently that while there was “a lot of speculation” that he might be given the responsibility to lead the Test, the decision will be taken by the new England managing director Rob Key.
“All I will say is that it is a huge honour to captain England and whoever does it will get to enjoy that responsibility of trying to take the team forward. The decision will be down to Rob Key as the new managing director of men’s cricket and I’m sure we’ll talk soon enough, as he will with other players and support staff,” Stokes had said.
The report also stated that Stokes was keen on accepting the job and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are “expected to announce his appointment by the end of this week”.
Durham’s director of cricket Marcus North recently told Sky Sports that, “He’s (Stokes) a match winner; he has moments of absolute brilliance and wins games on his own. That’s someone that you naturally, as a teammate, will be inspired to play with and to follow. He’s someone that wears his heart on his sleeve and gives everything he’s possibly got for England when he plays. That’s always a great quality in a leader and I have no doubt that if he gets the opportunity and he wants to take that opportunity, he’ll have the whole dressing room behind him.”
Meanwhile, a report in mirror.co.uk stated that the ECB have officially started the process to find a replacement for chief coach Chris Silverwood, who stepped down following the Ashes humiliation.
It said that the ECB was “advertising online for separate red and white-ball head coaches”. Both coaches will report directly to Key and be “accomplished (by) strategists with clear and ambitious plans for how they will develop and build success for English cricket moving forward”.
“The two coaches will also play a central role in selecting the team for their respective format alongside a national selection panel’, with a national selector also expected to be appointed after the role was abolished by Key’s predecessor Ashley Giles,” the report added.
Among those in contention for the top Test coaching job are former South African opener Gary Kirsten and Australian Simon Katich besides others, while Brendon McCullum, Stephen Fleming and Shane Watson are reportedly in contention for the white-ball job.