Cricket: Aussie Ashes heartbreaker Ben Stokes set to captain England in Test against West Indies

After working hard to restore his reputation following a late-night fight in Bristol, Ben Stokes broke Australian hearts at Headingley during last year’s Ashes.

Now the redemption of the superstar England all-rounder is complete with Stokes set to captain his country in the first Test against West Indies on July 8.

Joe Root is likely to miss the game to attend the birth of his second child giving Stokes, the one-time bad boy of world cricket turned World Cup and Ashes hero, his chance to be captain.

“Getting the opportunity to captain England is a huge honour. Even if it’s only the once, you can say you captained England,” Stokes said overnight.

“So it’s something that I’m looking forward to if the opportunity presents itself. But also I know I’m only stepping in to take over the reins because of Joe’s personal situation.”

Stokes lost the England vice-captaincy and had to flee to New Zealand, where he was born, in 2018 after the late-night fight in Bristol resulted in charges of affray.

He was eventually found not guilty but not before the case made headlines around the world.

Ben Stokes reacts after an attempted run out results in four overthrows during the 2019 World Cup final. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Stokes has turned his life and career around since the incident, helping England win the World Cup last year with his super-over heroics.

Then at Headingley he single-handedly won the third Ashes Test with a stunning final day hundred that rescued England from 9-286, smashing 11 fours and eight sixes in a 76-run final wicket stand with Jack Leach.

A victory there would have seen Australia retain the Ashes, which the tourists did in the next Test at Manchester.

Stokes said he had worked hard to redeem himself and, while he never aspired to captain England, said he would lead the way with “commitment and attitude”.

“After that happened (in Bristol) it was, ‘Right, what am I going to do from this point forward? How am I going to carry and conduct myself?’ I’m quite proud to say I’m in this situation through hard work and determination. It’s been no fluke,” he said.

“I don’t normally like to speak about myself in this way but, looking back, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do since that incident happened. It’s been through complete dedication and hard work towards the job I do.

“I never set a goal to want to be a captain. I always try to set the example in terms of commitment and attitude. When it comes down to what to do in a situation it will always be a positive route.”

Originally published asBen Stokes: From bad boy to England captain

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