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Ben Stokes reveals what he will ask of his players as England captain

New England Test captain Ben Stokes has revealed he will ask his players to be “selfless cricketers that make decisions based on winning the game of cricket for England”.

It was announced on Thursday that Stokes had become the 81st England Test captain – replacing his close friend Joe Root after he called time on a five-year spell in the job.

The all-rounder’s first match in the job will be the opener of the New Zealand series (02/06 – 06/06) at Lord’s, which marks the start of the home international summer.

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With less than a month to go until the curtain raiser, Stokes met with the media today and told the BBC what he will ask of his players as England Test captain.

He said: “I want selfless cricketers that make decisions based on winning the game of cricket for England.

“At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is winning. I want to be a part of a team that has that real mentality and isn’t going to take a backward step.

“The most important people to deliver that message to are the guys in the changing room.

“There is always going to be outside noise and it’s one thing that I have always made very clear is that there is going to be outside noise but the most important people that matter in terms of opinions and the people who speak are the guys in this dressing room.”

Though he’s made nearly 80 Test appearances for England, the 30-year-old is relatively inexperienced as an international skipper – having served as Root’s vice-captain in recent years, captained a Test against the West Indies in 2020, and for an ODI series v Pakistan in 2021 – but has made it clear he’s willing to lean on the experience of others in the dressing room.

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“I will be using other senior players and other people on my journey,” explained Stokes. “To ask for input and for what they think because it’s naive and stupid to think that my way is the only way and no one else has a voice or an input.

“I feel that’s one thing a leader needs to do – always make sure that other people around them feel valued and have a voice.

“There are a lot of things that I’ve gone through since I became a professional cricketer and those experiences I feel are a positive in this new role that I’ve got because, as I say, I’ve been through a lot of goods and a lot of bads.

“I feel like I can relate to both sides of what the sporting life can throw at you. I hope that now because I’m England captain that I’m not seen as a different person to the people who I play with.”