Newly appointed England skipper Ben Stokes has started his captaincy tenure as the first off two-Test match against New Zealand started at Lords, in London on Thursday. England is coming on the back of numerous changes made to their camp following a series of poor performances in Test cricket.
The appointment of former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum as the head coach of red-ball cricket was another notable change introduced recently. However, Stokes commenced his national duty as a captain by expressing his support for former England batter and assistant coach Graham Thorpe who remains seriously ill and has been admitted in the hospital.
The all-rounder wore the traditional blue England blazer while walking out for the toss before taking it off to show his England shirt with Thorpe's 564 playing number on the back. After he was taken ill last month, well-wishes have poured in for Thorpe, one of the finest England batsmen of his generation. After losing the toss, Stokes expressed his respect for the former England batsman stating that 'we all love Thorpey, and he means a lot to us.'
"Everybody knows that Graham Thorpe is unfortunately very unwell in the hospital," said Stokes. He also informed that he has talked to Thorpe's wife, and she is very grateful for the respect, concern and privacy that her family have received during these tough times. The England skipper also paid tribute to his late father and Australian legend Shane Warne. Notably, Stokes' father passed away in December 2020 following a short battle with brain cancer.
Stokes' white shoes featured Ged 500 and a familiar hand gesture where he bends his middle finger at the knuckle and raises it aloft in honour of the finger his father lost during his rugby career. Speaking of Warne, Stokes said, "He's a huge character of the game, one of the game's legends and probably the greatest to grace the game. It's a great honour to play a game in memory of Warney's great man."