Joe Root's absence as he attends the birth of his second child will give Stokes the opportunity to lead his country – a scenario which at times in his turbulent career has seemed unlikely.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the highs and lows of the 29-year-old's time on and off the pitch.
August 2011 – Makes one-day international debut against Ireland.
December 2013 – Handed Test bow in Adelaide during Ashes series whitewash.
December 2013 – Compiles maiden Test century during defeat to Australia in Perth.
May 2015 – Blasts 85-ball Test hundred against New Zealand at Lord's.
August 2015 – Takes stunning one-handed catch and returns second-innings six for 36 at Trent Bridge as England regain Ashes.
January 2016 – Smashes the second-fastest double-century in history with a thunderous 258 during the winter Test tour to South Africa.
May 2019 – Produces superhuman one-handed catch diving backwards on the boundary during England's win over South Africa in the first game of the World Cup.
July 2019 – Hits 84 not out to ensure England tie with New Zealand in the World Cup final at Lord's before starring in the Super Over to lead his side to glory.
August 2019 – Helps England, chasing 359, level the Ashes with an astonishing unbeaten 135 in a one-wicket victory at Headingley.
December 2019 – Completes a remarkable year by winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
June 2020 – Asked to captain England against the West Indies in the absence of Joe Root.
December 2011 – Arrested for obstructing a police officer on a night out in Cumbria.
February 2013 – Sent home from an England Lions tour of Australia after flouting rules on drinking.
March 2014 – Ruled out of the World T20 after breaking his hand punching a locker.
December 2014 – Left out of England's 15-man squad for the 2015 World Cup.
April 2016 – Hit for four consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the last over as West Indies beat England by four wickets in the World T20 final.
June 2016 – Fined after being caught speeding for the fourth time.
September 2017 – Arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm following a disturbance outside a nightclub in Bristol. Misses the Ashes and is stripped of the England vice-captaincy as a result.
January 2018 – Charged with affray.
August 2018 – Found not guilty of affray by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.
January 2020 – Escapes ban for swearing at a supporter on the opening day of the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, after accepting a level one charge for an "audible obscenity".