Cricket

England vs West Indies: David Gower, Kevin Pietersen raise concerns over Ben Stokes potentially leading hosts in Test series

England’s former captains David Gower and Kevin Pietersen have raised concerns that the additional responsibility might burden Stokes.

England vs West Indies: David Gower, Kevin Pietersen raise concerns over Ben Stokes potentially leading hosts in Test series

Ben Stokes has emerged as one of the star players of the England cricket team over the last few years. Owing to his spectacular form, Stokes' name has surfaced to lead the team this summer, if regular skipper Joe Root is unavailable for first England’s Test against the West Indies. Root will not be able to captain the side in at least one of the three Tests against West Indies due to the birth of his second child, due in July.

File image of Ben Stokes. AP

File image of Ben Stokes. AP

However, England’s former captains David Gower and Kevin Pietersen have raised concerns that the additional responsibility might burden Stokes.

Gower and Pietersen’s reactions came after Root expressed confidence in Stokes. The team’s captain last week said Stokes would be a “fantastic” stand-in. In an attempt to drive his point home, Gower drew a comparison between Stokes and Ian Botham, who failed to win a single Test as captain between 1980 and 1981.

"The obvious comparison is Beefy [Ian Botham], who was of that ilk, who inspired and led just by being there. Whether that is diminished by the pressures of leadership, only Ben will know. I'm sure he'll do it with gusto. I'd just want someone else to worry about the bits and pieces that make up captaincy," said Gower to the Mail.

Heaping praise on Stokes, he said the all-rounder trains hard and is a driven cricketer, adding he prefers Stokes to be the team’s de facto leader by example.

Gower led England in 32 Tests, out of which he won only five and lost 18 games.

On the other hand, Pietersen told talkSPORT the role as skipper can leave players in "a difficult place to be".

He, explaining his point, said, "The entertainers and the guys that have to carry that mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains, and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.”

Pietersen, whose own career as Test captain lasted only three matches, said that he would like wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler to lead the team.

As per the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) guidelines, Root will be required to have to self-isolate at home for seven days before rejoining the national team.

Updated Date: June 09, 2020 13:43:01 IST

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