Ben Stokes was badgering us for vice-captaincy: Ashley Giles
Ben Stokes (AFP Photo)

England allrounder Ben Stokes desperately wanted to be handed back the Test vice-captaincy, a role which he was stripped off in late 2017 after a late-night brawl outside a Bristol club.

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Following that event and its consequences, Stokes has made a stunning turnaround which has seen him guide England to their maiden ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final win and then a stunning comeback in the ongoing Ashes.

Ashley Giles, England director of cricket, has revealed that it was Stokes who pleaded with him and ECB’s chief executive Tom Harrison to put him back into the leadership role. “It was actually Ben Stokes who was badgering away as well about having the vice captaincy back, because this means so much to him. Not just the vice captaincy, but the Ashes series, Test cricket and he believes that as Joe [Root’s] right hand man he can deliver for him and he is demonstrating that pretty well at the moment,” Giles was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

He added, “He badgered myself and Tom Harrison. He was desperate to do it. He really is one of your warriors when you take to the field. And he has demonstrated that a couple of times this year at least, and on two of the biggest stages in the World Cup final, and last week in the Test match. He is almost, when you write the team down, he is going to be your first name on the list.”

Stokes, who was named as vice-captain ahead of the Ashes, scored 135 in a record chase of 359 in the third Test as England beat Australia by one-wicket to draw level at 1-1 with two matches remaining in the Ashes 2019. “It is [an incredible turnaround]. And this is one of the responses that we want to see, really,” Giles said of Stokes.

James Anderson has been ruled out of the entirety of Ashes 2019 following a calf injury but England are hopeful the veteran will get fit in time for the New Zealand Tests in late November. “Jimmy will be desperate really [to return]. He was obviously looking forward to this series and had worked so hard to try and get back for these last two Test matches. I would hope that there is enough time leading to New Zealand for Jimmy to be fit. In terms of strategy, we have got a couple of options really. We are in the year of a T20 World Cup, so we could play our best T20 team and give our guys a break from Test cricket,” he said.