BEN STOKES has spoken of his pride at the astonishing turnaround in his career which is set to be completed by captaining England next week, a role he vowed to carry out with all his usual attacking instincts.
Stokes looks certain to earn a temporary promotion during the first Test against the West Indies, with Joe Root’s wife expecting their second child in the coming days and the regular skipper then having to isolate himself from his team’s bio-secure bubble for a week.
The ascent of Stokes to the England captaincy is extraordinary, coming less than two years after he was acquitted of affray following his involvement in an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017. Stokes refuses to talk of it as a story of redemption and has been reluctant even to reference the incident.
But yesterday he opened up on the subject, saying: ‘After that happened it was, “Right, what am I going to do from this point forward. How am I going to carry and conduct myself?”. I’m quite proud to say I’m in this situation through hard work and determination. I wanted to get better and it’s been no fluke. It’s been through the hard work and commitment I’ve shown. I don’t normally like to speak about myself in this way but looking back I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do since that incident. It’s been through complete dedication to the job.’
Fresh off the back of his achievements in the Ashes and World Cup triumph of 2019, Stokes plans on taking a bold approach to his new role. ‘Nine slips and a gully, probably,’ he smiled, when asked what kind of captain he would be. ‘No matter what I do, it will always be the positive route. Even if I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things.
‘The last time I captained might have been an academy game against Scotland. I don’t remember much because I was about 16. I’ve never set a goal out to want to be a captain. I’m not one people would necessarily associate as the next England captain. But getting the opportunity is a huge honour. Even if it’s only the once you can still say, “Yeah, I’ve captained England”.’