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Ben Stokes 'obvious choice' for England captain insists Rob Key

New England managing director Rob Key believes Ben Stokes was the ‘obvious choice’ to become Test captain.

Ben Stokes has been named the new England Test captain, taking over from Joe Root, who quit earlier this month
Ben Stokes has been named the new England Test captain, taking over from Joe Root, who quit earlier this month

Stokes takes over from Joe Root, who quit earlier this month after five years and a record 64 games in charge. “The time is right for him,” Key said.

“He’s been a leader in that dressing room for a long, long time.

“He’s been the one that people turned to a lot of the time. He’s a strong leader, he’s got a good cricketing brain.

“Everything he’s done has got him to this point.

“He’s got a hell of a lot of empathy as well. For one of the great players, he cares about the people around him. He understands when people struggle, he understands when people might not be feeling great.

“All of those traits, as well as an outstanding cricket brain, make him the obvious choice.”

Key said Stokes’ elevation would inevitably lead to him playing less white-ball cricket but downplayed the issue.

“We’ve got to manage that load and prioritise when we think he needs to be playing,” he said. “Obviously at the moment that’s going to be Test cricket. We just have to make sure he’s in a good frame of mind and his body is in good shape.

“We don’t need to be planning six months in advance when Ben Stokes is going to be playing.

“We just need to make sure we’re on top of it and I don’t see that being an issue.”

n Honoured: See Page 48

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