Stokes thinking 'all about the future' as he begins England captaincy

By Sports Desk May 03, 2022

Ben Stokes' first aim as England Test captain is to help his players forget what has gone on in the past as they look to move on from a miserable run.

England have won only one of their past 17 Test matches and are winless in five series, leading to skipper Joe Root stepping down last month.

Superstar all-rounder Stokes was appointed in Root's place and now has the task of getting the team back on track.

He starts without a head coach, with Stokes acknowledging on Wednesday – as he addressed the media as captain for the first time – there has been "a lot of speculation and a lot of names".

The Durham man is "sure" he will have a role in that appointment, but for now the focus is on the "huge honour" of leading his country in a first Test against New Zealand at Lord's at the start of June.

"That [poor form] is obvious and something that we can't shy away from," Stokes said.

"One thing I feel like I've got to do is to get everyone not focusing on what's gone on in the past. We want to turn it around, so it's all about the future and what we've got ahead of us.

"In my opinion, that starts now and obviously on June 2, when we play that first Test match. If anything, it's a clean slate, and we can't live on what's gone on in the past.

"The simple saying I always try to live by is that you're only as good as your next game. That works very well with success and with failure as well."

Stuart Broad and James Anderson will be back for that match having been dropped under Root.

"You pick your best 11 players," Stokes explained, "and if Stuart Broad and James Anderson are fit, they're definitely part of that."

But how will he go about lifting the rest of the team? Stokes was reluctant to discuss his qualities as a captain, saying: "That would be talking about myself too much, which I don't like doing."

He did suggest a recent break from cricket to look after his mental wellbeing gave him crucial insight, though.

"I see it especially as a positive in the role I'm in now, because I've got a lot of experiences that I can look back on, good and bad," Stokes said.

He added: "Being a captain's not just about focusing on what goes on between 11 o'clock and six o'clock. It's a job that continues after those hours."

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