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England v Ireland 2023

Ben Stokes on whether a young Alastair Cook would make the current England team

England captain ben stokes on Alastair Cook
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

In an interview with Nasser Hussain recorded during the IPL, England captain Ben Stokes suggested that a young Jonathan Trott or Alastair Cook might not find a place in the current England set-up.

Stokes’ reign as captain has seen record scoring rates, with the ongoing Lord’s Test the latest demonstration of their aggressive brand of cricket. The top seven selected for the Ireland Test have all struck at a rate of 74 or more runs per 100 balls under his captaincy, far above the norm in Test cricket. Harry Brook, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Duckett all have strike rates above 95.

Prior to the English international summer, Hussain, a successful England captain himself, put the question to Stokes about whether a young Cook or Trott, two more patient players, would find a way into the current England set-up.


Cook is England’s all-time leading run-scorer and finished his England career with an average of 45.35; his Test strike-rate – a statistic seldom discussed during his Test playing days – was 46.95. Trott, widely regarded as England’s leading No.3 in the 21st century, averaged 44.08 at a strike-rate of 47.18. Both players were crucial members of the Andrew Strauss side that scaled to the top of the ICC Test team rankings in the early 2010s.

Hussain asked the current England captain: “What about having someone in your team who could be a top player but wants to do it a bit differently? Say you had a young Alastair Cook, Michael Atherton or Jonathan Trott who wants to bat the old-fashioned way and grind out a big score? Is there room for a person like that?”

In response, Stokes shied from saying that there would definitely be room for a player like a young Cook in the current team. “There are players who have played a certain way in their whole careers and that’s them,” said Stokes. “That’s fine. I’m not saying that’s not the way to play. But in this day and age and while I’m captain and Baz is coach that is not something we’re looking for.

“We want players who will go out there and put pressure on the bowlers straightaway. Look at Harry Brook and how he’s taken the world by storm. And he’s not really looked like he’s got out of fourth gear to be honest. Those are the type of players that are going to be noticed while we are in charge. In three or four years time you might have a new captain and coach who want to go back to the other way Test cricket can be played. And maybe those type of players will have an opportunity then. But right here and now it’s pretty obvious the sort of players we want and how they can get noticed.”

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