Ben Stokes stands by decision to drop Stuart Broad for first Test
England's stand-in skipper Ben Stokes expressed no regrets over the contentious choice to leave out Stuart Broad for the hosts' defeat to West Indies in the first Test.
Stokes, who was appointed England captain in the absence of Joe Root due to paternity leave, claimed the team management made the decision to drop Broad keeping in mind the pitch and weather conditions.
He admitted the thinking was to allow the pace duo of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood to operate in tandem and trouble the West Indies batsmen with their nagging lines.
While Archer made an impact during the visitors' chase and inflicted early damage on the opposition's batting lineup, Wood registered a total of two wickets across the two innings.
The context of England's defeat and Broad's measured outburst amidst a mid-match interview detailing his feelings of 'frustration' and 'anger' piles pressure on the selectors to get the side's composition right for the next game.
"We made a decision based around thinking pace was going to stand us a better place in the long game. Stuart is a fantastic bowler and he understands the reasons why," said Stokes.
"If I was to regret that, I don't think that sends the right message to the other guys I picked.
"He's one of the best players in the world, so he is a big miss when he doesn't play."
However, Stokes was quick to point out that Broad's comments showed the veteran seamer's hunger to perform and dedication to the game.
"Looking at the interview he gave I thought it was absolutely brilliant, to see the desire and passion that he showed," he added.
Another criticism directed at Stokes was his decision to bat first under grey skies against an in-form Caribbean pace attack.
The plan to get a huge first-innings total utterly backfired as the home team was bundled out for 204 on the second day courtesy of Jason Holder's remarkable spell of swing bowling.
"I'll stand by the decision I made to bat first," Stokes emphasised.
"We've got to be good enough to put runs on the board, that's what we base our cricket around. If we elect to bat, we know we've got to go out and put 400-500 on the board."
"Ideally we would have liked to have gotten more runs in the first innings. We got ourselves in positions to really kick on but unfortunately, we weren't ruthless enough," he conceded.
From a personal perspective, Stokes fared phenomenally in his first game as Test captain, ending up as his team's leading run-getter and highest wicket-taker in the match.
He revealed he was now looking forward to assuming a deputy role under Root, who arrives for next week's second Test.
"This is Joe's team, he's the captain and obviously next week I don't need to make any of the decisions, so good luck Joe."