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STUART BROAD: Ben Stokes will not change as captain of England … he will lead by example

Ben Stokes will be 81st England captain next week while Joe Root is on paternity leave, and I expect he will be guided by the way he plays.

Ben recently had a wonderful quote from Ben discussing the captain when he suggested that his first field environment would be nine slips and a trench. I was wondering if he would sacrifice the wicket keeper or the bowler!

However, that’s a summary of his approach to the game. I think he will be a very offensive captain because the way he plays naturally leads to positive cricket and he wants the team to follow suit.

Ben Stokes will shine when he replaces Joe Root as England captain, says Stuart Broad

Ben Stokes will shine when he replaces Joe Root as England captain, says Stuart Broad

The only pressure for him in this bio-safe cricket summer’s first test match is what every other player on the team has to face: the need to score runs, catch catches in the briefs and bowling as he usually does bowls .

The extra pressure of becoming a captain only comes about if he does not. Then the question marks will arise whether his performance has been affected by the burden of his captain.

But as a cricketer, he’s had enough good and bad days to realize that’s cricket. You are good, bad for others some days. Regardless of whether Stokes is captain or not, he’s a player you want to follow.

He inspires performances by others with the way he plays his own game, so I think he will have a really enjoyable week. There are none of the drawbacks of being captain of England for a long time: the pressures of the media, attending meetings on selection and other issues, and addressing the broader issues affecting the team, in addition to focusing on your own game.

None of this comes in the context of a one-time captain, which is why I don’t think it will change Stokes as a player. He will enter the field, change a few field positions and change the bowlers.

He is not under the pressure that Root has to deal with daily as captain of the English men’s test team.

On Wednesday mornings, players from both England and the West Indies walk to the Ageas Bowl with the Black Lives Matter logo on our shirts. For me, this is 100 percent the right decision.

The Premier League footballers have been at the forefront of building awareness and we have a responsibility to maintain the momentum they have created. Black Lives Matter is about education, which means that people need to become more aware of it over time, encourage people to know more, understand more, and it must be supported.

Taking a knee for just one game doesn’t change, it doesn’t encourage people to think about these issues in the longer term, and this move is something we have to keep in people’s minds.

We have yet to officially decide as a team in England what we will do to display the logo designed by Watford footballer Troy Deeney on our collars and there will be further discussions in the coming days about what English cricketers and those from the West Indies can do to keep that message going.

I know Joe Root has been talking to West Indian Captain Jason Holder and while nothing has been confirmed, I would think it would be a good thing to take a knee.

In my opinion, that would continue to come from the great work of the footballers. Others in different areas have also done important things, of course, but I compare our team to our football equivalents because their gestures have had an impact from a sporting perspective.

It is so important that this is not something that is relevant for three weeks, because it is something that is relevant for generations. I don’t suggest we master the next 20 years, but now is the time.

As professional athletes, we have to think about what we stand for and I hope that everyone who comes to England in this line-up, regardless of their background, will feel a sense of equality. But a lot of work needs to be done by everyone to ensure that opportunities exist for the BAME community at all levels.

From a specific cricket perspective, it is all about creating better roads.

One thing I have no control over this week is selection. My record of the past 12 months has been pretty good, I haven’t missed a home test for eight years and I wouldn’t want to rest before the first game of the summer.

Let’s face it, I’ve had a rest for the past 12 weeks. Likewise, I don’t think I’ve ever entered a Test Summer with every bowler in the country fit.

Competition for places is extraordinary. There are myself and Jimmy Anderson to consider – you would think Jofra Archer is 100 percent on the best team – then you have to remind yourself that Mark Wood had an incredible bowling session in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth earlier this year, and Chris Woakes a brilliant cricketer. It is an absolute nightmare.

In 2012 I was locked out at Edgbaston against the West Indies because it had been reduced to a three-day test by rain and Andy Flower told me not to be bothered playing. Previously, the one I missed was in 2010 when I was resting against Bangladesh.

But whoever is lining up for England, we must remember that the most important thing is to fight for World Cup points. That is important to me.

With all the distractions that living in a hotel with a cricket field view can offer, and the protocols we should keep on the field, such as not celebrating, giving our jumpers to referees, and not putting saliva on the ball, we should be ready for the job on Wednesday morning.

That is why we players are here. We are here to win for England, and the team that best deals with the distraction this unusual environment offers is the team that wins those points.

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