Ben Stokes would have no trouble stepping into the role of England captain if Joe Root were to miss the first Test of their three-match series against West Indies, fast bowler Stuart Broad said on Sunday.
England skipper Root has said he could miss the series opener, scheduled for 8 July, if it clashes with the birth of his second child and Broad, 34, believes the side would still be in good hands, with vice-captain Stokes well-equipped to take the reins.
“Stokes will be fine. The toughest part of the job is off the field, lots of extra meetings and planning, which he won’t have to get involved in,” Broad told reporters in a virtual news conference.
“He has a great cricket brain, he has grown and matured over the last few years so captaining one game will be easy. There won’t be much pressure as he’s not being judged over a long period of time. I have no doubts he will be brilliant.”
The three Tests will be played in bio-secure venues without fans in attendance as part of protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Broad says he has spoken to sports psychologists to learn ways of dealing with the challenges of playing in empty stadiums.
“It will be a mental test... I’ve just got to make sure to train my brain not to get into a negative mindset,” Broad, who has claimed 485 Test wickets, said.
“...There might be times when the minds of players drift but we need to make sure we are as engaged as possible.”
England are considering joining West Indies in an anti-racism protest in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
Broad says it is important to educate people on matters of racial equality.
“It’s been good to open the conversation with everyone. People can admit that maybe their views were different in the past. It’s now about moving forward,” he added.
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Root said that Archer, who was dropped from the second Test after he breached the bio-secure bubble, had been fired up in the nets and in good spirits as England prepared for the decisive Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Friday.
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