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Ben Stokes might be named England Take a look at captain on Thursday when Rob Key holds his first media convention since turning into the managing director of males’s cricket.

Key provided the function to Stokes on Tuesday throughout face-to-face talks within the north-east and although the 30‑yr‑previous all‑rounder all the time performed down any captaincy ambitions throughout his time as Joe Root’s deputy, he has accepted the problem.

The appointment of a Take a look at captain requires sign-off from the England and Wales Cricket Board’s unbiased board however whereas it’s in flux – Martin Darlow was introduced on Wednesday as the brand new interim chair – Key’s contemporary mandate since taking cost of the boys’s nationwide groups 10 days in the past has made this a formality.

Given a paucity of credible options within the Take a look at facet, Stokes was all the time the outright favorite to take over after an exhausted Root referred to as time on his five-year tenure within the wake of England’s winless winter in Australia and the Caribbean.

Nonetheless, Key nonetheless wanted to satisfy Stokes to determine his starvation for this extra duty, each as a linchpin of the Take a look at facet with bat and ball and having taken a four-month break final yr for his psychological well being.

Stokes has captained the Take a look at staff – a four-wicket defeat towards West Indies in Southampton two years in the past when Root was on paternity depart – nevertheless it stays his solely first‑class match in cost. That stated, he has lengthy been a frontrunner within the dressing room and earned plaudits when captaining a rookie one-day worldwide staff to a 3-0 collection win towards Pakistan final yr after a Covid-19 outbreak dominated out the primary‑selection squad.

His first look because the everlasting England captain and an eightieth cap will come towards his nation of delivery, New Zealand, when a three-Take a look at collection will get underneath manner at Lord’s on 2 June. It stays to be seen if Stokes can have a head coach alongside him, nonetheless, with the interview course of for the emptiness not beginning till 9 Could.

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad played intermittently in the Ashes and were dropped for the West Indies tour but should return this summer.
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad performed intermittently within the Ashes and had been dropped for the West Indies tour however ought to return this summer time. {Photograph}: Mark Kolbe/Getty Photos

Whereas the likes of Gary Kirsten, Graham Ford and Simon Katich vie for that function, one other place needing to be stuffed is that of Take a look at vice-captain. Typically used to blood future leaders, it could require an skilled head, initially, given the chance that Stokes, a full-throttle cricketer who’s nursing a knee downside, could effectively miss video games alongside the best way.

Root seems unlikely to step in whereas he focuses his energies on batting, and the one different batter assured of his spot is Jonny Bairstow after centuries in Sydney and Antigua this yr. Ought to the England hierarchy resolve to spend money on a youthful participant, Zak Crawley – mentored by Key throughout his profession – is a candidate.

There’s additionally an expectation that Stuart Broad – down to start out his season with Nottinghamshire on Thursday – and Jimmy Anderson will function within the Take a look at staff this summer time, with Stokes understood to be in favour of the veteran pair returning to the choice fold after they had been controversially dropped for the Caribbean tour.

It’s considered one of quite a few subjects prone to be coated by Key at Lord’s on Thursday throughout his first public look as director of males’s cricket, together with the 42-year-old’s choice to separate the head-coach roles by the use of format and his total imaginative and prescient for the boys’s recreation at each worldwide and on the home degree.

Some semblance of a plan might be welcome, given there’s a management vacuum on the very prime of the ECB. On Wednesday the governing physique confirmed it has been pressured to restart the recruitment course of for the function of everlasting ECB chair that has been vacant since Ian Watmore resigned final October.

Ron Kalifa, a non-executive director on the board for the previous 18 months, was beforehand in control of the search however now seems prone to run for the function of chair himself after a press release from ECB confirmed “no single candidate was in a position to absolutely meet the factors”.

Barry O’Brien, interim chair for the previous eight months, has additionally stepped down for well being causes, together with his deputy, Darlow, taking up till the function is stuffed.

In the meantime, the England all-rounder Chris Woakes has signed a two-year contract extension with Warwickshire till a minimum of the top of the 2024 season.

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