Ben Stokes will lead England in the first Test against West Indies, starting July 8 in the absence of Joe Root will be missing the historic match for the birth of his 2nd child.

Ben Stokes will lead England in the 1st Test vs West Indies (Reuters Photo)


  • Rooty just left a message on the hanger which said, ‘Do it your way’: Stokes
  • Stokes said he knows he will able to able to turn to Root for advice during the Test
  • Stokes named stand-in captain for 1st Test in the absence of Root

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 offspinner 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.” has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, and access our dedicated coronavirus page.
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