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England’s new test skipper Ben Stokes wants predecessor Joe Root to return to number four in the batting order for the series against New Zealand, a position where he has accumulated over 5,000 runs and notched up 14 centuries.

Root, who resigned from the captaincy after the series defeat against the West Indies, scored two hundreds while batting at three in the Caribbean but Stokes feels that he is more suited to his original position.

“I’ve already spoken with Joe. I’ve asked him to go back to four and I’m going to be at six,” Stokes said. “Wherever Joe bats he gets runs, but his best position is at four. Joe will probably be averaging 90 now instead of 60 so it’ll be good.” Root averages 51.27 at number four compared to 39.67 at three. “I feel him at four and me at six gives us a bit of experience in that gap.

Stokes to be unveiled as England Test captain on Thursday

So you can obviously see where the places are opening up for people… it’s three and five,“ added Stokes, who smashed 161 off 88 for Durham against Worcestershire in the County Championship this week.

The 30-year-old earlier said that he would recall veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were left out of the three-test series against the West Indies which England lost 1-0.

Stokes’ recent appointment is part of a major shake-up in England cricket, with former batsman Rob Key coming in as managing director of the men’s team following the departure of Ashley Giles.

The first of three tests against New Zealand gets underway at Lord’s on June 2.

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Khurram Shahzad May 08, 2022 07:00pm
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