New England Test captain Ben Stokes has confirmed he will be moving back to No. 6 in the batting order in a move that he believes will benefit both him and the team.
While Stokes averages 39.55 at No. 5 and 36.44 at No. 6, he believes the change will maximise his all-round performance as he looks to ‘make England’s Test team great again’.
England won just one of their last 17 Tests under former skipper Joe Root, losing last winter’s Ashes series 4-0 and suffering a 1-0 defeat to West Indies in March.
‘I am going back to No. 6,’ Stokes said. ‘I know I am at my best for England when I am doing both roles [batting and bowling] as much as the other.
‘I feel that going back to No 6 is going to allow me to concentrate on those roles as much as the other, rather than worry about one while I am doing the other. I feel that’s best for the team.’
Stokes was named as Root’s successor last week and says the off-field issues that have occurred during his professional career will help him as Test captain.
In 2018, Stokes was found not guilty of affray after being involved in a fight outside a Bristol nightclub, while he took a break from cricket last year to protect his mental health.
‘As a team we know we have not been good enough, not played to the standard we know we can.
‘It’s about understanding that and fixing it but we need to understand things won’t happen overnight. I can’t just expect it to click and all of a sudden we are No. 1 in a year’s time.
‘I am very excited about the role of hopefully making the England Test team great again. It’s a big goal of mine.’
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