Ben Stokes is happy to call on Joe Root's advice as the all-rounder prepares to lead England's Test side.

Root was appointed as successor to England great Alastair Cook in 2017 and went on to win 27 red-ball matches while in charge of the team, which is a record.

However, Root also holds the record for the most red-ball defeats while captain of his country (26) and England have won only one of their past 17 Tests and are winless in five series in the longest format. 

That dismal run of form, capped by a 1-0 series defeat to West Indies earlier this year, resulted in Root stepping down in April.

England are also without a coach, with Chris Silverwood having left his post following a 4-0 hammering in the Ashes, though former batsman Rob Key has now been appointed as the new managing director.

Root, whose own form was superb in 2021 as he scored 1,708 runs across 29 innings at an average of 61 and a strike rate of 56.85, is nevertheless set to remain a prominent member of England's Test team, and Stokes is pleased to have someone he hailed as a "great man" by his side.

 

"Joe phoned me before it became public about his decision. It was a very brief chat, it was probably not the right time to start reminiscing about everything while he was on the phone," Stokes said in an interview posted to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) official website.

"And then I phoned him before it became public that I'd taken it because I didn't want him to see it on social media.

"When Joe took over, I was made vice-captain, it was a really exciting time.

"I think there's a handful of players who I think will have respect after the game. Every player who's played under him, players in the future as well, will see what a great man he is. He's a real carer of people that he plays with.

"Our friendship goes beyond just being team-mates, we've known each other since we were 14 years old.

"I'm looking forward to working with him in a different capacity but I'll also be using him a lot because I've got a lot to learn about being captain."

While Stokes is aware that England's Test team needs a refresh after their poor run, his immediate priority is simple.

"I just want to win games," he said. "At the end of the day being a captain is about winning games, that's what you get judged on.

"Obviously you've got to mould the team, create a winning mentality, which you need to have at the top level, but my main goal, I think my duty is to win as many games as possible. That's my main goal."

Stokes' first matches in charge come in June, when England host New Zealand in a three-Test series.

The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored the "Hand of God" goal has fetched over £7million at auction, the highest price ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia.

Maradona scored two of the most memorable goals in World Cup history to knock England out at the quarter-final stage in the 1986 tournament in Mexico.

The late, great former Argentina captain rose above Peter Shilton to knock the first in with his fist at the Azteca Stadium, with the officials failing to spot the infringement.

Moments later, he beat a series of England players with a sublime dribble on the way to scoring a magnificent solo goal as Argentina won 2-1 and went on to be crowned world champions.

England midfielder Steve Hodge ended up with the shirt after swapping with Maradona – who passed away in November 2020 – following the match.

The shirt has been on loan to the National Football Museum in Manchester, but was put up for auction at Sotheby's in London for a bidding period between April 20 to May 4, with estimators expecting it to collect around £4m.

However, the successful bid ended up being significantly higher, with Sotheby's confirming on Wednesday that the shirt went for a whopping £7,142,500.

That eye-watering total makes it the most expensive piece of sporting attire in history, with a 1928-30 road jersey of baseball icon Babe Ruth setting the previous record in 2019, going for £4.4m ($5.6m).

Andrew McDonald says he would not have taken a job with England as he does not agree with splitting the coaching roles.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are in the process of recruiting separate head coaches for the Test and limited-overs teams after sacking Chris Silverwood.

Rob Key opted to move away from having one head coach to be in charge of every side following his recent appointment as managing director of England men's cricket.

McDonald was appointed as Australia head coach for all formats last month and he believes it is important to have just one boss.

Asked if there was any prospect of him going for a job with England, he told SEN: "No I don't think there was a risk.

"I think the way that they're going to set-up, structure up, is clear. I think they're going to go for a split coaching role. My views on that differ slightly.

"My belief is to still have that one coach and share the workload within that. I think for me the continuity of messaging is critical. But also the priorities shift. And people probably don't like me saying this, but the priorities do shift at certain times. You can't be everything to everyone.

"For example, Pat Cummins, on the back of three Test matches in Pakistan, at the end of that he's severely fatigued and then the white-ball team gets compromised because Pat Cummins isn't playing. But he's not ready to perform in that environment.

"If you had split coaches, which format takes priority? So, I think the ability to have one selection panel, one coach to work through that, give the direction to what the priorities are at the time and managing the overall squad as such and then someone, potentially a Michael Di Venuto or another assistant coach, coming in to allow the head coach to balance the workload but still stick on the same path.

"For example, we're going to build towards the 2023 World Cup, am I going to do every one-day game leading into that World Cup? There's no chance of that. So I think that the continuity of messaging for me is important."

 

Michael Atherton wants Ben Stokes to take the opportunity to "grab hold" of the dressing room if England are still without a head coach in his first Test as captain against New Zealand.

Stokes was last week confirmed as the successor to Joe Root, who ended his long reign as skipper following a nightmare Ashes series in Australia and subsequent disappointment in the Caribbean. 

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are not due to start interviewing for both a Test and limited-overs head coach until next week, with Chris Silverwood sacked after the 4-0 hammering Down Under.

England start a three-match Test series against the Black Caps at Lord's on June 2 and former skipper Atherton believes Stokes can stamp his authority on the side in the absence of a head coach.

He told Sky Sports News: "Ben Stokes will be his own man; he has got a chance to shape that team now and take it in a different direction.

"There may not be a coach in place in time. These things go through a process; I think May 6 is when job applications close and June 2 is the first Test match. That's quite tight.

"That's not a bad thing in my view. I don't think since Sir Andrew Strauss that an England captain has really grabbed hold of a dressing room.

"If there is no coach in there, it will be a chance for Ben to absolutely grab hold of it, mould the team and say 'this is the way we're going to run things.'

"When [Paul] Farbrace was interim coach before [Trevor] Bayliss came in, that was actually when Stokes came back into the side, so it's not a disaster if a coach is not in place by June 2."

Atherton is fully behind the decision to split coaching duties, but did not specify who he wants to take over from Silverwood.

The former opening batter added: "Who should it be? My goodness, all of the candidates that have been talked about are very good. Gary Kirsten is a very good candidate, Simon Katich an excellent candidate. There will be any number of people.

"It's the right thing though to split, or look to split, the job. Years ago I said on Sky that England needed to consider split coaching roles. You look at the schedules now, they are so crammed, it's very difficult for one man to do everything.

"In the middle of the summer, England will be in Amsterdam for some one-day internationals in the middle of a Test series. How does one man plan for that? It's impossible.

"Last year when England were in Dubai playing the T20 World Cup, the Ashes were coming up two weeks later. Impossible.

"Looking to split responsibilities is exactly the right way to go. Two distinct coaching staffs for Test cricket and limited-overs cricket, that will make life much easier."

Reggae Girlz striker Khadija Shaw scored four goals to help Manchester City Women secure a 7-2 hammering of Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Super League at the Manchester City Academy Stadium on Saturday.

Shaw, who now has eight goals in 15 matches this season in the WSL, scored her goals in the 3rd, 12th, 57th and 61st minutes to help her Manchester City team move to third in the table with 41 points from 20 matches.

“The team looks to me to score goals so to get four today is an unbelievable feeling,” Shaw said in a post-match interview.

The other City goals came from Caroline Weir in the 16th, Alex Greenwood in the 68th and Lauren Hemp in the 69th minute.

Chelsea currently leads the WSL with 50 points from 20 matches followed by Arsenal with 46 points from 19 matches.

Ben Stokes has told England chiefs he wants James Anderson and Stuart Broad back in the Test team under his captaincy.

The new skipper believes it is too soon to dispense with the fast-bowling expertise of the duo who between them have taken 1,177 wickets in the five-day international game.

Broad, 35, looks set to add to his 152 caps, and 39-year-old Anderson can expect to boost his total of 169 Test appearances in the upcoming series against New Zealand.

That is set to mark Stokes' debut as England's new full-time Test captain, with the first match beginning on June 2 at Lord's.

Joe Root's successor made it an urgent matter when he spoke to new England managing director Rob Key, after the pace pair were left out for the recent West Indies series and used sparingly in the Ashes.

"When I met Ben Stokes the other day, one of the first things he said was, 'Jimmy and Broady are back'," Key said.

"I said, 'Absolutely, no problem'. Now that might have been a bit of a problem if I didn't think that, but I was on exactly the same page.

"That wasn't much of a debate, we both agreed. I sat with Broady a week and a half ago and Jimmy last night. They're both keen and ready to go."

Ben Stokes has been appointed as England Test captain following Joe Root's resignation.

Root led his country in the longest format for just over five years, but brought his long reign to an end this month following an abysmal run of just one win in 17 matches.

Stokes has agreed to step up from his role as vice-captain after holding talks with new managing director of men's cricket Rob Key.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) approved the appointment of Stokes on Tuesday after Key recommended the 30-year-old for the job.

All-rounder Stokes said: "I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team. This is a real privilege, and I'm excited about getting started this summer.

"I want to thank Joe for everything he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world.

"He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role."

 

Key, who started his role this month with plenty of issues to address, said: "I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben.

"He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity."

Stokes' first match as skipper will be when a series against New Zealand starts at Lord's on June 2.

England should also have appointed a new Test head coach by the time they face the Black Caps after Chris Silverwood was sacked in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.

The ECB has opted to appoint separate head coaches for the Test and limited-overs teams.

Gary Kirsten, Simon Katich, Tom Moody and Graham Ford are among the names to be linked with the Test job.

Ben Stokes has been appointed as England Test captain following Joe Root's resignation.

Root led his country in the longest format for just over five years, but brought his long reign to an end this month following an abysmal run of just one win in 17 matches.

Stokes has agreed to step up from his role as vice-captain after holding talks with new managing director of men's cricket Rob Key.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) approved the appointment of Stokes on Tuesday after Key recommended the 30-year-old for the job.

All-rounder Stokes said: "I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team. This is a real privilege, and I'm excited about getting started this summer.

"I want to thank Joe for everything he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world.

"He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role."

 

Key, who started his role this month with plenty of issues to address, said: "I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben.

"He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity."

Stokes' first match as skipper will be when a series against New Zealand starts at Lord's on June 2.

England should also have appointed a new Test head coach by the time they face the Black Caps after Chris Silverwood was sacked in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.

The ECB has opted to appoint separate head coaches for the Test and limited-overs teams.

Gary Kirsten, Simon Katich, Tom Moody and Graham Ford are among the names to be linked with the Test job.

The England and Wales Cricket (ECB) has restarted the search for a new chair following failure to find a suitable candidate.

Barry O'Brien has been operating as the interim chair since October, when Ian Watmore stepped down following a wave of coronavirus-related challenges and scrutiny for cancelling England's tour of Pakistan.

However, the ECB confirmed O'Brien has now resigned from the role due to ill health, with deputy chair Martin Darlow to take charge while the board search for a permanent appointment.

A statement read from the ECB read: "The ECB board met last night [Tuesday] and has agreed to restart the process for recruiting its next permanent chair.

"Following an ongoing process involving a number of strong candidates undertaking interviews with both the nominations committee and a cricket panel it was felt that no single candidate was able to fully meet the criteria to become next chair.

"In light of this, the board decided that the process should now be restarted. A new nominations committee will be appointed, chaired by senior independent director Brenda Trenowden, to run the new process."

The announcement comes at a time of wholesale change within English cricket, with Rob Key confirmed as the new managing director of men's cricket to replace Andrew Strauss, who had been in interim charge.

The ECB is advertising for separate coaches for the vacant Test and limited-overs roles following the dismissal of Chris Silverwood, with Gary Kirsten, Simon Katich and Graham Ford among the favourites for the red-ball side.

Meanwhile, Ben Stokes is widely expected to be appointed as England's Test captain following the resignation of skipper Joe Root earlier in April.

England start their next Test series against New Zealand on June 2, while they begin an ODI series versus the Netherlands on June 17.

Former England international and British and Irish Lion Tom Youngs has announced his retirement from rugby.

The hooker had not appeared for Leicester Tigers this season after taking an indefinite period of leave at the start of the campaign to care for his ill wife.

Now, Youngs – the brother of Ben, England's most capped player, and the son of Nick, another ex-international – is calling time on his career.

The 35-year-old appeared 28 times for his country and in three Lions Tests during the 2013 tour of Australia.

"I had always planned around this season being my last and I am comfortable with the timing of it now," Youngs said.

He added: "I want to thank my family for all that they have done to help me achieve what I have been able to do throughout my career.

"My mum, my dad, my brother and all of my extended family, I am so lucky to have them.

"Finally, to my wife Tiff and daughter Maisie, I am lucky to have you alongside me and would not be where I am without you. Thank you both."

Carlos Brathwaite is playing club cricket for Knowle and Dorridge in Birmingham ahead of a stint as captain of Birmingham Bears in the T20 Blast and he endured a debut to forget this weekend.

West Indies star Carlos Brathwaite had a day to forget after making his debut for Birmingham & District Premier League side Knowle and Dorridge Cricket Club.

Brathwaite, who memorably guided the West Indies to victory in the 2016 T20 World Cup with a brutal final over assault on Ben Stokes, is set to captain Birmingham Bears in this year's T20 Blast. And with the competition getting underway next month, the all-rounder is taking the opportunity to get in some game time with Knowle and Dorridge first as he returns from a shoulder injury which forced him to undergo surgery.

Over the Easter weekend, Brathwaite debuted for the club in a 50-over match against Leamington Cricket Club. However, things could not have gone much worse for the 33-year-old.

While bowling for the first time in six months due to his injury, Brathwaite was unable to pick up a wicket and conceded 31 runs from his four overs, making him the most expensive Knowle and Dorridge bowler. He then holed out for a first ball duck while batting as his side lost the match by 12 runs.

Brathwaite later tweeted about the match, revealing that his car had also been stolen. "What a day yesterday," he wrote.

"First time bowling in a game after injury for six months - First ball duck from a long hop - Car stolen but you know what, woke up this morning, Sun is shining and giving thanks. Happy Easter to all."

The 2022 Vitality Blast will run from May 22-July 16.

 

Stuart Broad has distanced himself from speculation he could succeed Joe Root as captain of the England Test team.

Yorkshire batsman Root announced he was stepping down from the role earlier this week, having led the side to both a record number of victories and defeats during his tenure.

Broad, who sat out the recent series defeat in the West Indies as part of a much-vaunted "red ball reset", is the third most-capped player in England Test history, with 152 matches.

It has been mooted England could turn to Broad, at least in the short term, to replace Root but the star paceman is not sure that scenario will play out.

"Naturally, I am aware that my name has been touted as a potential successor to Joe as England captain," Broad wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

"I guess that is because I am an experienced centrally contracted player who has been around the international game a long time. However, it is not something I have given any thought.

"I am not currently in possession of a shirt within the England Test team and my focus is very much on changing that by taking wickets for Nottinghamshire over the next few weeks.

"In fact, I would argue we are in a fairly unique position as far as selection for the Test team goes right now in that there are only two players whose names you could write in pen on the scorecard.

"One of them is Joe Root, the other is Ben Stokes - and one of them isn't going to be captain for the first Test of the summer against New Zealand at Lord's on June 2 because he has just given the job away."

Despite his assertions, Broad remains one of the likelier candidates to succeed Root within the wider Test squad, due to the lack of logical options.

Stokes has previously ruled himself out of the position, while former skipper Alastair Cook remains the only player still at county level to have previously led the side in Test cricket.

England will play three Tests against New Zealand in June to kick off their summer, before subsequent series' with India and South Africa.

Ben Stokes is the only candidate to replace Joe Root as England's Test captain, according to former skipper Michael Vaughan.

Root's record-breaking stint as captain was ended on Friday when he stepped down after a dismal run of results.

England have lost five consecutive Test series, winning just one of their past 17 matches under Root.

Root, who will remain in the team as one of cricket's elite batsmen, has overseen more Test matches (64), wins (27) and losses (26) than any other England skipper.

Attention is now turning to who might take on the role next, but England's poor performances and inconsistent team selections provide few obvious alternatives.

Superstar all-rounder Stokes is among the favourites, though, and that is who Vaughan would turn to.

"I don't see anyone else who could take the position and be guaranteed of their place in the side," Vaughan told the BBC's Test Match Special podcast.

"In Ben Stokes, you have clearly got someone who has got a smart cricket brain, he's going to give it everything, he is certainly going to have the respect of the players around him."

However, Vaughan added a word of caution: "Stokes is everything in a person and a player that you would want, but he will need a lot of support around him, because when you have got that all-rounder tag and they've got that persona, they think they can do everything.

"You need a senior core around him to give him a few pointers.

"You need to have someone say, 'listen Ben, just concentrate on what you're really good at', and that's out on the field, making decisions and trying to just give us your best performance.

"If he performs like we know he can, he will lead the team by example."

Stokes has captained England in only a single Test match previously, scoring 43 and 46 with the bat while taking 4-49 and 2-39 with the ball in a four-wicket defeat at home to West Indies in July 2020.

James Anderson hailed Joe Root for balancing the stresses of captaincy and becoming one of the world's greatest batters, after the England Test skipper stepped down on Friday.

Root was appointed in 2017 as the successor to Alastair Cook and boasts the most wins by an England captain in the longest format of the game (27).

However, Yorkshireman Root also holds the record for the most losses as skipper of his country (26), and decided to resign following a 4-0 Ashes thrashing and 1-0 series defeat against West Indies.

A new-look England side left out Anderson and Stuart Broad, who have 1,177 Test dismissals between them, for the latter series as the tourists made it just one win in their last 17 red-ball outings.

Root's side are also without victory in their last five series, but Anderson praised his team-mate of many years for the balancing act he has managed between captaincy and his batting.

Indeed, despite England's struggles in red-ball cricket, Root racked up 1,708 runs in 2021 – the most ever by an England player in a calendar year and third-most by any player in history.

"It's been a pleasure to be part of Joe Root's England side," Anderson wrote on Instagram.

"The way he's managed to balance the responsibilities and stresses of leading the team while also becoming one of the world's greatest batters has been extraordinary.

"He is an incredible ambassador for the sport and I can't wait to see him back out in the middle where I'm certain he'll cement himself as one of the all-time greats."

Anderson will be hoping he can join Root on the field when England host New Zealand, with the first Test starting on June 2, as the 39-year-old seamer looks to return after his West Indies omission.

One argument for not removing Joe Root as England Test captain was the seeming lack of credible replacements to take over the responsibility.

Well, that became a none issue on Good Friday when it was announced Root had stood down from the position after winning 27 Test matches as skipper – a record for an England captain.

His tenure came under question after England failed to win in five straight series and now the hunt is on for the Yorkshireman's successor.

Stats Perform have evaluated the most likely candidates to do so.

BEN STOKES

Already England's vice-captain and surely the top replacement to fill the void. It is hard to look beyond Stokes, not least because – aside from Root – he is about the only shoo-in for the Test side. So often England's saviour, the star all-rounder has 5,061 runs and 174 wickets from 79 Tests (averaging 35.89 with the bat, and 32.12 with the ball). A recent four-month hiatus, in which Stokes cited mental health reasons, may raise questions as to whether he will want to take on the job, but he certainly appears to be the frontrunner.

JOS BUTTLER

Buttler's main issue, like so many in the red-ball team, is that his place in the side is far from assured. Having said that, Buttler has been a big part of the leadership team in white-ball cricket and the attack-minded wicketkeeper-batsman may thrive if given the opportunity to lead his country in the five-day game. With 2,907 runs and a couple of Test centuries to his name, Buttler could be the one England turn to next.

STUART BROAD

The decision to drop Broad and James Anderson – the former second only to the latter in England's list of all-time leading Test wicket takers – from the recent series in the West Indies was met with complete bemusement. Admittedly, at the age of 35 Broad is in the twilight of his Test career but he could certainly provide a good short-term option until a more viable solution emerges. He has previously captained England in the T20 format too.

RORY BURNS

Recently dropped from the Test team, Burns is maybe more of an outside shot but perhaps with the added responsibility of captaincy he could cement a place in the team. Burns has proved his cricketing nous by leading Surrey to the County Championship in 2018. Burns would need to start scoring consistent runs at the top of the order, though.

JONNY BAIRSTOW

Bairstow has no shortage of grit and desire. Moreover, he was the only England player to score a century in the Ashes debacle and also made a valiant hundred in the first Test against the Windies, which helped secure a draw in that match. However, Bairstow often finds himself in a battle to even make the team. Ollie Pope's emergence means he is not a shoo-in as a middle-order batman, while he is up against Buttler and Ben Foakes to play wicketkeeper.

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