n Ben Stokes‘s first day as England Captain, it was clear that he would do the job in his own, unique style.

His day, however, began with a short drive from home Durham County to the land where he made his name, the River Bank, not the Lord, where so many of his predecessors were discovered. A trip there can take a month.

He then changed into a tracksuit instead of the jacket he would be wearing to throw away tomorrow four weeks against New Zealand.

And in his first interview, for a behind-the-scenes function on the ECB’s Instagram page, he said, “This is my first day at work … apparently I have to do things like that now, so you” I’ll keep an eye on me until I will make my own media. ”

Stokes has never been a cricketer – or, indeed, a character – bound by the weight of history and precedent. This was expressed in his next interview with the BBC, when he recalled that the comparison with Jan Botem and Andrew Flinthof has been with him since adolescence and has never bothered him.

He’s not going to change the fact that now he’s taken on one job that these other mascots, charismatic universals couldn’t handle.

When clearly compared to Beefe and Fred, Stokes is a little different from the two captains under whom he played, Alastair Cook and Joe Ruth. Their life trajectory, as long anointed future captains of England, was quite smooth. The achievement of the captain was a dream, and they had a long term.

Stokes became interested in this job only when he became an obvious candidate, and can do so until someone else shows up.

At his opening Stokes spoke of a tumultuous journeyand had to eliminate previous negligence (which he did very well).

“There were also a lot of other experiences that I could feel being chewed, swallowed, and I was done,” he said. “I never let that happen. I guess I’m too stubborn to let anything overwhelm me. ”


What he shares with Cook and Ruth is that he rose to the test team young, and therefore has virtually no captaincy experience; indeed, his only first-class game in 2020 was to replace Ruth against the West Indies (England lost; Stokes played well and was brave, ousting Stuart Brod).

So there is nothing to continue if you predict how he will play it. He preached selflessness and straightforwardness and said that his vision coincided with the vision of Rob Key, new managing director.

It is clear that he will need a coach who respects the voices of the players, but provides a steady hand on the tactical steering wheel (next week with this position everything can go quickly, with interviews on Monday and Tuesday). It is also clear that he wants older voices around him, and the vice-captain – a role he respected – soon.

Stokes also showed that life’s ups and downs have made him more caring, generous and vulnerable than the cool guy’s character imagines.

It was impossible to deviate from the scale of the task before him. Since his speech, the ICC has published an annual update of the test rankings. England are sixth (generous), but their rating (88) is the lowest since 1995. According to this figure, he holds a position even lower than Nasser Hussein in 1999, when England was enlightened after the defeat of New Zealand.

Winning one game out of 17 is not good enough for the people in our team.

Stokes’ first task is against the Black Caps, who announced a formidable team overnight and beat England in the last three series.

“If we’re completely realistic, winning one game out of 17 is far from good enough for the people who are on our team,” Stokes said.

“What we can do is say there’s only one way out of here, it’s up. I’ve been involved in this for the last few years and it doesn’t achieve any person, we know we weren’t good enough, we didn’t play to the standard we know we can. It’s about understanding this and then seeing what we can do to fix it.

“I also understand that things don’t just happen, I can’t expect it to just click and we’ll suddenly become number one in a year.”

Stokes is right that in England the players are better than recent results show. The talent is there, but the performances were bad. He is already making changes, such as moving to number 6 and recalling older bowlers, and some new faces seem inevitable.

Can inspiring leadership help make it more than the sum of its parts?

It is unlikely that Stokes will have a simpler appointment as captain of the England national team than his first appearance in the media. But with some of the inequalities smoothed out by life’s journey, it was a real spectacle to reassure those who are afraid of what will happen.

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