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England v West Indies: Ben Stokes says captaincy will not change his style

Ben Stokes says he will not alter his style of play if he is confirmed as England captain for the first Test against West Indies.

Skipper Joe Root is set to miss the match, which begins on 8 July, for the birth of his second child, with vice-captain Stokes likely to step in.

“I hope that I always try to set the example in terms of attitude and commitment,” said 29-year-old Stokes.

“If I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things.”

Stokes has enjoyed a stellar 12-month period in which he led England to victory in the World Cup final, then played one of the all-time great Test innings in the remarkable one-wicket Ashes win over Australia at Headingley.

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The Durham all-rounder regularly produces his best performances in pressure moments, and did so again by bowling England to victory on the final day of the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town in January.

“In terms of how I want to influence the game, I try to have a positive effect with the ball or bat in my hand,” he said.

“No matter what I do in terms of choosing what to do in a situation, it will always be the positive route.”

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Stokes was named vice-captain when Root took over as captain in 2017, but was stripped of the role following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September that year that led to him being charged with affray.

He asked to be reinstated at the end of 2019 and is now set to become the 81st man to lead England in a Test, and the first all-rounder since Andrew Flintoff.

“Getting the opportunity to captain England is a huge honour – even if it’s only the once you can still say ‘yeah, I’ve captained England’,” said Stokes, 29.

“It’s a huge honour to think about, and something I’m really looking forward to if the opportunity presents itself, but also at the same time I know I’m only stepping in for the one game because of Joe’s personal situation.”

Stokes, who has no captaincy experience in the professional game, and said the last time he led a side was during his time with the Durham academy.

“We’ve got some really experienced guys out in the field who I can use,” he said.

“I’d like to think that I’ll be quite an open captain and wouldn’t want to just think that my way is the only way.

“There are 11 guys out on the field, so why not get 10 other opinions on something that you’re thinking about?”

The opening day of West Indies’ four-day intra-squad practice match – their last game before the Test series – was washed out at Old Trafford.

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England v West Indies: Cricket returns with practice match

Top-level cricket was played for the first time in the world since March as West Indies began their intra-squad warm-up match at Old Trafford.

Kraigg Brathwaite, captaining his team, scored 84 and Shai Hope 83 in a total of 275 on the first day of the three-day game in Manchester.

Pace bowler Shannon Gabriel took three wickets for the side led by West Indies skipper Jason Holder.

The three-Test series against England will start on 8 July.

Originally due to be played in June, it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and will now be played behind closed doors in bio-secure environments at Southampton and Old Trafford.

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After this practice game, West Indies will play another internal four-day match at Old Trafford, while England will have their own three-day intra-squad match in Southampton starting on 1 July.

Gabriel is officially only on the list of reserves as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Holder, rated as the number one all-rounder in Test cricket, did not bowl because of a minor ankle injury.

There has been no international cricket since Australia beat New Zealand in a behind-closed-doors one-day international in Sydney on 13 March.

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