Ben Stokes was appointed as the England Men’s Test cricket team captain on Thursday by the England & Wales Cricket Board, succeeding Joe Root and becoming the team’s 81st captain.

Commenting on the appointment, Rob Key, the Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, said, “I had no hesitation in offering the role of Test captain to Ben.”

“He epitomises the mentality and approach we want to take this team forward into the next era of red-ball cricket. I am delighted that he has accepted, and he is ready for the added responsibility and the honour. He thoroughly deserves the opportunity,” Key added.

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Tom Harrison, the CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board, also heaped praise on Stokes, saying, “I am delighted that Ben has agreed to become England Men’s Test captain, which is another great achievement in his extraordinary career in an England shirt.”

“He cares deeply and passionately about what it means to represent England and he will lead us into a new era with great pride. It’s an important summer for our Test side and Ben will I am sure relish the challenge before him and his team,” Harrison explained.

“I am honoured to be given the chance to lead the England Test team. This is a real privilege, and I’m excited about getting started this summer,” the 30-year-old Stokes said after his appointment was formalised.

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“I want to thank Joe [Root] for everything he has done for English cricket and for always being a great ambassador for the sport all across the world. He has been a massive part of my development as a leader in the dressing room, and he will continue to be a key ally for me in this role,” Stokes added.

A talismanic player for England in both Tests and ODIs, Stokes has 5,061 Test runs with an average of 35.89, and also has 174 wickets to his name.

Stokes’ first match as captain will see him lead the England team against New Zealand at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on June 2.