'Shouldn't be forced': Ben Stokes dismisses bold Ashes gambit

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Ben Stokes says it is simply not the right time for England to consider moving on from Joe Root as Test captain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Ben Stokes says it is simply not the right time for England to consider moving on from Joe Root as Test captain. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has dismissed talk of him replacing Joe Root as England captain amid the tourists' Ashes disaster.

With the urn already back in Australian hands and two Tests still to play, calls for change in the England team have been deafening.

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The team's bowling tactics have been questioned, their batting depth has been exposed and their coaching structure has come under fire - however Stokes says on-field leadership is the least of the Test team's issues.

Root is set to surpass Sir Alastair Cook as England's longest-serving Test captain when he leads the team for the 60th time in Wednesday's New Year's Test in Sydney.

His four and a half year tenure as captain has yielded two lost Ashes series and one drawn, however Root has been the clear batting standout for England, particularly this series.

Despite talk of the team needing some change, Stokes said it simply didn't feel like the right time for anyone other than Root to lead the team.

"I've never really had an ambition to be a captain," he said.

"A captain is someone you want to go out and play for. Joe Root is someone I always want to play for.

"It's totally Joe's decision. He shouldn't be forced into doing it. I'm sure Cooky felt the same way. He did it for so long and when he knew his time was up, his time was up. Those discussions haven't entered anywhere near Joe yet.

"I don't sense that at all with Joe. He's brought this team a long way. He's done some great things. Obviously, this series hasn't gone too well - not from a captaincy point of view, but from a team and results point of view."

Ben Stokes defends England coaching amid 'pretty average' Ashes series

Stokes also backed head coach Chris Silverwood, saying: "He's a real players' coach. He stands up for you as individuals and players as well."

"They (Silverwood and root) know full well they have the support of everyone in there and that's all that matters."

Stokes described his own performances in Australia as "pretty average".

But the most memorable moment of the tour for him came on the second evening in Melbourne as England slumped to 4-31 after just 12 overs amid some electric bowling.

Ben Stokes has been leapfrogged by Mitchell Starc in the ICC's all-rounder rankings following the Boxing Day Test. (Photo by Peter Mundy/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ben Stokes has been leapfrogged by Mitchell Starc in the ICC's all-rounder rankings following the Boxing Day Test. (Photo by Peter Mundy/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"Even I was watching that going, 'I don't know what I would do to counteract that'. That was some of the highest quality bowling I think I've seen in a Test match," said Stokes, who had been marvelling at the Aussie assault from the pavilion before having a late visit to the crease.

"I don't think I've ever been booed by 49,000 people when I walked out. It's the first time I've actually been taken aback by an atmosphere in a ground.

"Although we were on the receiving end of that, it was pretty special to feel that at the MCG."

With AAP

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