Batting holds key to England-Windies series
One of the hardest parts of captaincy is being the bearer of bad news for those who miss out on the final XI, with Stokes' bow involving some highly taxing decisions over the make-up of the bowling attack.
In all likelihood only three of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes can play and, although all should see action over a seven-week period that is due to contain six Tests against the Windies and Pakistan, making the initial cut is an awkward job.
All five have huge upsides and lengthy explanations about squad rotation and workload management are unlikely to ease the disappointment of the unlucky pair.
"I've been dreading it for the last two or three days, telling the unfortunate guys," said Stokes. "I can't wait to give Joe the armband back for that reason, but that is leadership.
"It's great to tell guys they're playing but with that comes the fact that you have to deliver the bad news. It obviously gives the captain and the selectors an absolute nightmare because you can only pick so many but it's a great place to be, to have so many to pick from.
"With the amount of cricket we've got coming in the next seven weeks I think all the guys will get opportunities and if we are going to rotate it's not going to affect the standard. The guys we've got here are all unbelievable and they've all put a good case forward."
- TEAMtalk media