Ben Stokes breaks silence on England captaincy debate with Joe Root under fire

Ben Stokes has refused to put himself into the captaincy debate and has instead thrown his considerable clout behind both Joe Root and Chris Silverwood.

Stokes has been touted as the only viable alternative to Root as England Test captain after a second successive Ashes tour failure for his skipper.

But the vice-captain and talisman has declined to express his interest in the job, insisting he wants to play for both Root and Silverwood.

“I’ve never really had an ambition to be a captain,” said Stokes, ahead of the fourth Test in Sydney. “To say ‘should people step down.’ That’s the media’s job.

“It’s totally Joe’s decision, he shouldn’t be forced into doing it. I’m sure Cooky felt the same way. He did it for so long. When he knew his time was up, his time was up.

“I don’t sense that at all with Joe. The most important people's opinions are those guys in the dressing room and they’ve got our thorough support.

“Captaincy is more than about setting fields, picking the team, making decisions out there in the middle.

“A captain is someone you want to go out and play for. Joe Root is someone I always want to play for. Chris Silverwood is exactly the same.”

The support for the head coach has come at a good time after Silverwood was hit with a positive Covid test of his own during his isolation with his family in Melbourne.

With three of the five Silverwoods on tour now positive, the family have been moved out of the team hotel and into a property for their own use to get over the virus in a tough situation.

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