ENG vs WI: Ben Stokes to follow Joe Root's advice and captain England 'his way'

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jul 07, 2020, 07.53 PM(IST)

Ben Stokes. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Ben Stokes on Wednesday will become the latest captain to lead England in Test cricket as the ace all-rounder will replace Joe Root for the first Test against West Indies in Southampton. Root is set to miss the opener to attend the birth of his second child. Ahead of the Southampton Test, Stokes said he will follow Root's advice and lead England in his own way.

Ben Stokes on Wednesday will become the latest captain to lead England in Test cricket as the ace all-rounder will replace Joe Root for the first Test against West Indies in Southampton. Root is set to miss the opener to attend the birth of his second child. Ahead of the Southampton Test, Stokes said he will follow Root's advice and lead England in his own way.

Stokes revealed that he received a message from Root when he got his official photos for the Test series done in the blazer. Root simply left a message on the hanger which said 'Do it your way'.

"The best message that I have received was when I got my photos done yesterday (Monday) in the blazer," said the star all-rounder. "Rooty just left a message on the hanger which said 'Do it your way'.

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Just because Joe is not here doesn't mean I am not going to use him: Ben Stokes

Stokes is even open to contacting Root if required during the course of the Test as the all-rounder said that with Root not being present with the squad doesn't mean England won't use him. Stokes further said that he was sure Root will always be available on call if needed.

"Just because Joe is not here doesn't mean I am not going to use him," said Stokes, who will be captaining a team for the first time since he was a teenager.

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"With Joe and his personal situation, it's been about letting him deal with that. "I haven't been on him too much but I am sure when the Test match starts, I know for a fact he will be at home watching and I know that his phone will always be available for me to get in contact with him if I need to."

The first Test in Southampton, which will take place behind closed doors, will mark the return of international cricket after a prolonged break due to COVID-19. And Stokes is of the view that precautions taken by England and the West Indies could serve as a model for other sports.

"There are obviously a lot of rules and regulations that have been put in place for this to happen," said Stokes.

"I feel as though a lot of respect has been shown from both sides to make sure this works. Because if you get one thing wrong, it might blow this whole 'get the sport back on to the radar of people' further back.

"We'll be doing everything we can to make sure we don't mess it up."

Stokes said the absence of spectators would be no reason for England to let their standards slip in what will be a "massive occasion".

"We can't use that as an excuse to not feel up for this game because we know we have hundreds of thousands of people following us and wanting us to do well back home watching us on TV."

England and the West Indies will wear Black Lives Matter logos on their shirts in support of the campaign against racial injustice and Stokes said Tuesday his side planned a further "gesture", although he did not specify if this would mean taking a knee.

"We aren’t in any way shape or form showing support towards any political matters on the movement," said Stokes. "We are all about equality through society and sport."