Ben Stokes eager to see Joe Root return to No 4 spot in England's batting line-up

New Test captain says star batsman is at his best in fourth position

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New England Test captain Ben Stokes said that star batsman Joe Root will return to number four position a revamped England line-up.

After announcing that he will be batting at No 6, Stokes revealed he has asked his predecessor to return to his favoured position.

Root was in top form batting at four in 2021, scoring 1,708 runs and scoring six centuries. However, he had to move up a spot in the West Indies to bolster a weak top order.

Stokes wants Root to return to number four for the series against New Zealand, a position where he has accumulated over 5,000 runs and hit 14 centuries.

"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.

"I feel him at four and me at six gives us a bit of experience in that gap. So you can obviously see where the places are opening up for people to put their hands up: it's three and five.

"I now feel I have to follow a lot more of the county games now to see who is scoring runs rather than just checking the Durham score."

Stokes had earlier stated that he is in favour of recalling veteran fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were controversially left out of the three-Test series against the West Indies which England lost 1-0.

The all-rounder also stated he wants to lead a group of “selfless” cricketers after a period of turmoil in English cricket. England have won just one of their past 17 Tests and that included a 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia and a series defeat in the Caribbean.

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 under way at Lord's on June 2.

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Updated: May 08, 2022, 10:48 AM