Joe Root happy to rely on old friend Ben Stokes

The new England skipper first came across Stokes in an Under-12s tournament when the all-rounder was representing Cumbria.

Published: 19th February 2017 02:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2017 02:54 PM   |  A+A-

England Test skipper Joe Root. | AP File Photo


LEEDS: When Joe Root leads England out for the first time as Test captain he will be able to turn to a familiar face in Ben Stokes.

Yorkshire batsman Root first came across Stokes in an Under-12s tournament when the all-rounder was representing Cumbria.

Stokes may have had to move to nearby Durham in order to pursue a first-class cricket career, but Root reckons many of the fiery all-rounder's enduring traits as a player were on show from an early age.

And knowing him as well as he does, Root was happy to nominate Stokes as his vice-captain after he himself accepted the top job last weekend following the resignation as Test skipper of Alastair Cook.

England and Wales Cricket board director Andrew Strauss, himself a former England captain, was of the same opinion as the leadership of the side moved decisively to a younger generation ahead of the teams next Test, against South Africa at Lord's in July.

Recalling his first impression of Stokes, 26-year-old Root, not bothering to suppress a grin, said: "He was a little podgy medium-pacer back then.

He's obviously a slightly different player right now,"

added Root, speaking at his Headingley home ground.

"But he was always in your face, letting you know he was there -- and that was great to play against.

"We get on well outside of cricket as well. When we bat together we have a good understanding, and it will be exactly the same in these new roles."

Root has had a close-up view of Stokes's skill on the Test stage, be it his blistering double century against South Africa in Cape Town last year or his five-wicket haul in England's 2015 Ashes-clinching victory at Trent Bridge, a match destined to be remembered for Stuart Broad's remarkable eight for 15 on the first day.

"He's very 'in your face', and sometimes you need that up-front brashness," said Root of Stokes.

"That second-innings display from Ben -- the 'five-for', the skill he showed -- I am sure in any other Test match he would have got man-of-the-match," added Root, modestly omitting his century in the same match.

"Then, the way he played in South Africa was just incredible -- and he is that sort of player that with the odd moment in the field can really change a game, turn it on its head."

Cook said one reason why he was able to lead England in a record 59 Tests was to avoid social media, thereby remaining ignorant of the more extreme criticism that came his way.

Root, however, has no intention of closing his Twitter account any time soon.

"It's something I've grown up with in international sport, so I'm used to it," Root explained. "With Cooky, it came along half way through his career.

"With the new age we're in now, where social media is a big part of communicating and getting things out there, it's something you've just got to adapt to and accept ... it's always going to be there.

"It's a great opportunity to get your messages across as well."

Stay up to date on all the latest Cricket news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp