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Picture Credit: ECB

England's quality all-rounder Ben Stokes has backed Joe Root who is facing massive criticism for poorly leading the side to Ashes defeat. Reportedly, speculations are doing the rounds of Stokes replacing Joe Root as Test skipper after the latter failed to successfully lead the team in Ashes for the third time in row. But England all-rounder Ben Stokes has clarified by saying that Root should not be forced to quit captaincy as he has brought many laurels to the side, and has been carrying the team on his shoulder on several occasions.

Notably, England under the leadership of Joe Root is facing a danger of series whitewash, with matches left in Sydney and Hobart. Ben Stokes has expressed his ambitions of never leading the Test side. As per Stokes, "Captaincy is more than about setting fields, picking the team, making decisions out there in the middle. Root is one captain I would like to play for."

Notably, two years back in July 2020, Stokes captained England in the opening Test against the West Indies when Root was away on paternity leave. He also led the national team in the ODI series against Pakistan after COVID-19 cases entered the home team’s camp. However, Stokes emphasized on the fact that the whole team should take the fall when a team underperforms not just the captain and coach.

"There are other ten players as well who failed to perform but it's the skipper and coach who always face the brunt", Stokes said.

"It's totally Joe's decision. He shouldn't be forced into doing it. I'm sure Cooky (Alastair Cook) felt the same way. He did it for so long and when he knew his time was up, his time was up. Those discussions haven't entered anywhere near Joe yet. I don't sense that at all with Joe. He's brought this team a long way. He's done some great things. Obviously this series hasn't gone too well, not from a captaincy point of view, but from a team and results point of view," he said.

The fourth Ashes Test is set to get underway on Wednesday, January 5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Notably, England side is already in enough trouble due to increasing positive COVID cases in their coaching side, as head coach Chris Silverwood has been tested positive and set to miss the fourth Test along with his few staff members.