Former England head coach Trevor Bayliss has backed all-rounder Ben Stokes to do nicely because the Test captain “if he stays true to himself”.
Having first endorsed Stokes as a potential Test skipper back in 2016 on England’s tour of Bangladesh, Bayliss’ prediction came true when the all-rounder was appointed as the skipper in the longest format of the game last week, replacing Joe Root.
“We were on a tour of Bangladesh and the England journos asked at a press conference if there was anyone else in the squad besides Joe Root who could take over from ‘Cookie’ (Alastair Cook). I said Ben Stokes and they all laughed,” Bayliss was quoted as saying by ‘The Age’.
Asked on how Stokes the Test captain will fare, Bayliss remarked, “I feel he’ll do a great job if he stays true to himself and continues on play the sport in his style. He’s a type of captains who is not going to solely lead by instance, which he does already, he’ll do it with a really optimistic outlook. He’s at all times searching for the optimistic angle to make issues occur. I feel he’ll be good for the staff.”
A lot has happened in Stokes’ cricketing career for England. From the Bristol nightclub brawl which resulted in him missing the 2017/18 Ashes in Australia to losing his father Ged in December 2020 and then in last year, Stokes took a break from the game to protect his mental well-being before returning for 2021/22 Ashes.
Bayliss, under whom England won the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup at home, feels that Stokes has got all the capabilities in him to set the past incidents aside and approach Test captaincy with a fresh mind.
“To be honest, I don’t think those things really affected him too much one way or the other. That first incident was a long time ago and a lot of, plenty of water under the bridge now. There’s been a lot of cricket since. Obviously with his dad passing that was sad, but he’s got back into it, and he’s done well since. It’s just a part of life, isn’t it? He’s very good at getting on with it, and doing what he needs to do.”
On Thursday, Stokes will prove for his aspect Durham within the County Championship for the primary time since being introduced as England Test skipper towards Worcestershire at New Road. His first project because the Test captain shall be a three-match dwelling collection towards present World Test Championship winners New Zealand in June.