Rollercoaster career will make me a better captain: Stokes
England's new Test skipper flags a recall for Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad and plays down comparisons to Andrew Flintoff and Ian Botham
4 May 2022, 08:18 AM AEST
Ben Stokes hopes the ups and downs of his England career will help make him a successful Test captain and says he won't try to be like past great allrounders, Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff.
Stokes was announced as Joe Root's successor last week and will begin his reign against New Zealand at Lord's next month.
It marks one of the proudest points in the allrounder's journey, during which he has produced some unforgettable performances and endured some major challenges.
He was arrested after a late night incident in Bristol in September 2017 and went on to miss an Ashes tour that winter before being cleared on a charge off affray, bouncing back to inspire England's World Cup win in 2019.
He also missed a large portion of last year when he took a break to prioritise his mental health.
Asked how his experiences had changed him over the course of his journey, Stokes said: "There's a lot of things that I've gone through since I became a professional cricketer, and those experiences I feel are positive in this new role that I've got.
"I've been through a lot of goods and have been through a lot of bads and I feel like I can relate to both sides of what this sporting life can throw at you.
"I hope that now because I'm England captain, I'm not seen as a different person to the people who I've played with. I feel as if I've always been someone who anybody can come and speak to.
"I see everything that I've gone through as a positive and you can relate to people if that is good or bad. I don't see anything that I've gone through as a negative. If anything, I see it as a way that I can always try and help them."
Stokes' credentials as a dressing room leader have never been in doubt, but as an all-action allrounder he faces a mighty workload taking on the captain's blazer.
Botham and Flintoff, the two players he has most frequently been likened to since he burst onto the scene, both failed to make the grade as skipper but Stokes is not concerned about following in their footsteps.
"I've had to deal with comparisons to Andrew Flintoff and Sir Ian Botham since I was 18 or 19. And I've always said I'm not trying to be either of them, I'm just Ben Stokes," he said.
Stokes said he would be involved in the decision on who should replace axed Chris Silverwood as head coach.
On the futures of record wicket-taker James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were omitted from the recent tour of the West Indies, Stokes added: "I've made it pretty clear to Rob (Key, ECB managing director) and he's on the same wavelength as me: You pick your best 11 players.
"If Stuart Broad and James Anderson are fit, they're definitely a part of that. They are two greats of the game and they are part of the best XI. Pretty simple."