Ben Stokes confirms batting order switch after being named England Test captain

England Test captain Ben Stokes has revealed he will be moving down the order to number six after replacing Joe Root as skipper.

Stokes has spent the vast majority of his Test career batting at number six, given his status as England's premier all-rounder, but he was bumped up the order to number five in late 2018 given his status as the side's second best batter after Root.

However, Stokes is keen to contribute with both bat and ball and believes a move back to six will help him "concentrate on those roles as much as the other". The 30-year-old was keen to drop down the order in the West Indies, but remained at number five and blasted a brutal century in Barbados.

Now that he is in charge, though, Stokes has confirmed he will bat at number six when England take on New Zealand in the first Test of his reign at Lord's on June 2. Speaking to the media for the first time since he was announced as captain, Stokes confirmed: "I am going back to number six.

"I know I am at my best for England when I am doing both roles [batting and bowling] as much as the other. I personally feel that going back to number six is going to allow me to concentrate on those roles as much as the other, rather than worry about one while I am doing the other.

"I feel that's best for the team." Jonny Bairstow has been England's number six since earning a Test recall during the Ashes and struck two centuries in ten innings.

And while Bairstow seems set to retain his place in the side this summer, whether he simply swaps positions with Stokes and bats at number five or is once again handed the gloves and moved to number seven remains to be seen.

Stokes has a big job on his plate as captain, with England failing to win any of their last five Test series, but insists he is "excited" about the prospect of turning things around. "I think if we're completely realistic, winning one game in 17 is nowhere near good enough for the people we have in our team," added.

"But there's only one way to go from here, which is up. I can't expect it to just click, things don't happen overnight, but I'm excited about the role I’ve got to play in hopefully making the England Test team great again."

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