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International Cricket - Cricket: Stokes takes England Test captaincy

Ben Stokes has been backed to lead the England Test side to a brighter future as he has the "mentality and approach" to make a major impact as captain.

The 30-year-old all-rounder has been confirmed as the man to succeed Joe Root in the leadership role, with England hoping to improve fortunes which have seen them win just one of their last 17 Test matches.

Managing Director of England Men's Cricket, Rob Key, said: "He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket."

That may be so, but Stokes has several tricky issues to deal with almost straight away, while in the long term England are 13/8 to win the Ashes series on home soil in 2023.

Keeping Root in the mood

Former skipper Root made it clear that he was keen to continue as a Test player after stepping down as captain and Stokes will have been relieved to have heard such sentiments.

Root led the side in 64 Tests and at only 31 certainly has plenty of time left to add to his already formidable record and he remains undoubtedly his side's best batter.

However, in the past former captains have sometimes found it harder to slip back into the ranks than they initially thought it would be and have bowed out soon after - Root's predecessor Alastair Cook did just that.

He lasted just over a year under the leadership of Root before calling time, leaving the Test arena at the relatively young age of 33, so England have a warning to heed that they need to keep their former captain sweet for as long as possible.

Personal success always a factor

Cook started his permanent reign as England Test skipper with centuries in his first three matches, having also made tons in both Tests in Bangladesh when he stepped up for the rested Andrew Strauss in March 2010.

Root also hit his stride from the off as he marked his first game as captain with a superb 190 against South Africa at Lord's and that sort of performance, with either bat or ball, will no doubt be of major benefit to Stokes.

If he manages anything close to what both Cook and Root did, it will be perhaps even more impressive, as England host both Test world champions New Zealand and beaten finalists India this summer.

Stokes currently averages 35.89 with the bat and 32.12 with the ball in Tests and will want to try and improve both of those stats, while also hoping that the captaincy does not precipitate a dip in form.

English cricket is still scarred by the memories of all-rounders Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff both finding the captaincy too great a burden.

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Recalls for veteran bowling greats

With Root having already made it clear that he is on board for the new man in charge, the big question is what does the future hold for James Anderson and Stuart Broad as the much-touted "red-ball reset" continues?

Anderson and Broad were both omitted from the recent tour of the West Indies, where a 1-0 reverse for the tourists did little to prove that that decision was the correct one.

With a long home summer of Test cricket ahead and other options not proving overly reliable, it would seem sensible to give Stokes some experienced help by bringing either or both Anderson and Broad back in from the cold.

Anderson has taken an incredible 402 Test wickets in England, while Broad has no fewer than 341 victims to his name - that sort of success surely cannot be discounted under the new man in charge.

It will be the first major call for Stokes to have his say in and he has given an immediate hint that he wants to pair back in the fold, with the new broom not sweeping everything clean for the future.

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