Stand-in England captain Ben Stokes says regular skipper Joe Root has given him a simple piece of advice ahead of Wednesday’s first Test with West Indies — do it your way.
With Root missing for the birth of his second child, Stokes will get to pit himself against West Indies counterpart Jason Holder.
“The best message I’ve received was when I got my photos done yesterday, with the blazer. Rooty just left a message on the hanger which said, ‘Do it your way’,” said Stokes.
But the all-rounder says he knows that he will be able to turn to Root for advice at any stage during the match.
“Because of Joe’s personal situation, we’ve been letting him deal with that and I haven’t been on him too much. But I know he’ll be at home watching and his phone will always be available if I need him,” he added.
Stokes’ first big decision as captain will be to name his team along with coach Chris Silverwood and there are tricky choices to be made with his bowling attack.
James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood are competing for the three pace spots alongside Stokes and off-spinner Dom Bess.
“It’s not very often that we’ve been in a situation where we’ve got six or seven bowlers to choose from,” Stokes said. “It’s a real head-scratcher as somebody who’s got to choose the side but as a bigger picture it’s a great place to be in as a team.
“I feel as if we’re in a position now as a Test team like we were with the one-day team in 2015 and building for that World Cup. I feel as if we’re building towards the Ashes in Australia and also India,” he added.
“I’ve been dreading it the last three days, having to deliver bad news to some lads. It’s obviously not a nice thing to have to do, but that comes with being the captain and with being in a leadership role. It’s got to be done.”
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West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick says he's been in constant touch with Jofra Archer after the latter faced racist abuse for violating COVID-19 protocols, and extended his support to the pacer.
Archer was fined and warned by the English Cricket Board and forced to isolate on his own after being left out of the second test at Old Trafford, which England won by 113 runs on Monday to level the series at 1-1
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