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Ben Stokes will be brilliant as captain, says Mark Wood

By Pti
Ben Stokes will be brilliant as captain, say Mark Wood

London, July 2: Fast bowler Mark Wood expects star all-rounder Ben Stokes to do a brilliant job as England captain in the first Test against the West Indies despite the lack of leadership experience.

England's World Cup hero Stokes was on Tuesday (June 30) named captain for the opening Test against West Indies in place of Joe Root, who has taken leave to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.

Stokes has never led a side in first-class cricket but will be captaining the national team for the first time in his career when the opening Test begins at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8.

"He has a good cricket brain and, even though he does not have much captaincy experience, he will have seasoned players like James Anderson and Stuart Broad around to bounce ideas off," Wood wrote in a column for BBC.

"Stokesy won't not just tell people what to do. He knows that players are individuals, so he will treat them as such. That said, he is also very honest, so he won't be afraid to tell it straight if someone is not pulling their weight or sticking to a plan. He will do a brilliant job."

Wood said he had featured in the team which Stokes last captained during his Durham Academy days against Scotland Under-19s, giving a thumbs up to his stand-in skipper.

ENG vs WI: Stokes to captain England against West Indies with Root missing

"I am one of the few people who have actually played under Stokesy, back in our days on the Durham academy. He was a good skipper back then, leading from the front, just like he does now.

"As the years have gone on, he has matured into a senior player, setting the example and dragging people along with him."

England's three-day practice match begins on Wednesday and Wood said though he wouldn't want to be too aggressive in the internal game but at the same time he also needs to test his skills and perform to make it to the playing XI.

"As a fast bowler, part of my armoury is being aggressive, trying to rough up the opposition. Would I be comfortable trying to do that to my England team-mates in this situation? Probably not, but if the captain or coach asks me to, then that is what I will have to do.

"I would rather look at it as an opportunity to experiment with the skills that I have been learning during lockdown, but I have also got to remember that there are Test spots up for grabs and I want to give the best account of myself. If I get hit for a couple of fours, I am sure the competitive juices will flow."

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Story first published: Thursday, July 2, 2020, 9:19 [IST]
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