How good is Ben Stokes as England’s Test captain?

Ben Stokes

England’s Ben Stokes led his team to a remarkable comeback in the Ashes 2023, as they rallied from a 0-2 deficit to level the five-match Test series at 2-2. In the first Test at Edgbaston, England’s Bazball strategy backfired when they declared on Day 1 despite being in a strong position against the Australian bowlers. The second Test was closely contested, but the Aussies emerged victorious. With their backs against the wall, Stokes and his team faced immense pressure heading into the third Test at Headingley.

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However, Ben Stokes joined forces with pacers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes to guide England to a memorable win. With newfound momentum, the hosts kept Australia on the back foot and succeeded in leveling the series.

After suffering defeats in the first two Tests, England faced significant criticism. However, Stokes earned widespread praise for his captaincy in the last three matches. Former captain Michael Vaughan paid a glowing tribute to Stokes, writing in his column for The Telegraph: “When you have that conversation, of course you’re thinking about Test match Stokes’ victories are impressive. He has won 13 out of 18 Tests [19]. It’s incredible. Stokes will be remembered for changing the way Test cricket is played. It’s a perfect legacy.”

On that note, we examine where Stokes ranks among the greatest England Test captains. Mike Brearley is undoubtedly England’s best Test captain ever. Although he had an ordinary record as a batter in Test cricket – an average of 22.88 from 39 Tests – he was an extraordinary leader of the England Test team. Brearley captained England in 31 Tests, winning 18 and losing only four. Stokes’ captaincy record is also impressive, with 13 wins out of 18 Tests. While it is still early to compare Stokes with Brearley, he has shown that he has the potential to become one of England’s greatest Test captains.

Ben Stokes on the path of greatness

Stokes is a fantastic Test captain since taking over from Root. Combining with coach Brendon McCullum, he had turned around England’s fortunes in spectacular fashion. Stokes has won 13 of his 19 Tests as captain, which is impressive. He won nine Test matches in England, three in Pakistan, and one in New Zealand. Stokes has also redefined England’s Test cricket.