Captain Ben Stokes Eyes Ashes Redemption


July 10, 2024 · 2 min read

Captain Ben Stokes Eyes Ashes Redemption
Other Sports | July 10, 2024
Captain Ben Stokes aims to reshape England's Test team with an eye on reclaiming the Ashes in Australia. (Image: PA)

Captain Ben Stokes says the recent changes to the England Test team aim to reclaim the Ashes in Australia. England’s home summer starts against West Indies on Wednesday. Debuts include Jamie Smith, Gus Atkinson, and Shoaib Bashir. The Lord’s Test also marks the final international match for England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, James Anderson.

“We had to make some decisions around what we think is best for the team going into that Ashes series,” Stokes told BBC Sport. “We want to go out there and get that urn back.” The next Ashes series will be held in Australia during the winter of 2025-26.

Teams for the first Test:

England XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jamie Smith (wk), Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson.

West Indies XI: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Mikyle Louis, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Jason Holder, Joshua da Silva (wk), Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph, Jayden Seales.

Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have shifted their focus to long-term planning, emphasizing team progression. “We’ve made unbelievable strides over the last two years but now we find ourselves thinking about what can make this team even better,” said Stokes.

Anderson with 700 Test wickets will play his final Test at Lord’s, where he debuted 21 years ago. Despite Anderson’s capability to continue, England’s management, including Stokes and McCullum, decided to nurture younger bowlers. “He’s an amazing bowler… but his main focus this week is taking wickets and trying to win this game for England,” said Stokes.

Captain Ben Stokes himself is fit to return as an all-rounder after surgery on a long-term knee problem in November. He expressed excitement about finally being able to fulfill his role as the fourth seamer. Stokes highlighted the hard work he put into his rehabilitation and its importance to the team.

The West Indies, touring England since 2020, boast a strong pace attack despite Kemar Roach’s absence. Captain Kraigg Brathwaite emphasized the importance of consistency in performance for the West Indies. He highlighted the team’s young and talented batting lineup, expressing full support for their potential.