None better than Stokes to step in for Root as short-term captain: Hussain

Former England captain Nasser Hussain feels Ben Stokes will do well as a one-time skipper, however, handing the all-rounder the armband permanently at some point later in his career would be something ‘The Three Lions’ should be concerned about.

Regular Test skipper Joe Root is likely to miss the first Test against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl starting July 8 as his wife is expecting their second child at the same time.

If Root ends up going for it then he will have to go under mandatory self-isolation before he can rejoin the squad. Hussain stated Stokes will undoubtedly do well as captain in Root’s absence.

“There is no one better than Ben Stokes to step in for Joe Root as a short-term captain when England take on West Indies in the first Test next week,” Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“Stokes is extremely loyal, so Root would not have to worry he would be handing his job over to someone with any kind of ulterior motive of wanting to take it for good.

“When Joe returns Ben will happily hand the captaincy back to him. He will certainly bring passion and energy to captaincy,” he added.

Hussain also spoke about the prospect of handing over the role permanently to Stokes and stated it might not be a good idea to put further pressure on someone who is already giving the team everything in all three departments of the game.

“The long term is a different matter. With the full-time England captaincy comes expectancy, selection, ups and downs and a lot of things that can weigh you down. So I would be concerned about giving it to Ben permanently at some point down the line,” Hussain wrote.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in world cricket who does as much as Ben Stokes. Maybe Virat Kohli but he doesn’t bowl. Stokes’ plate is full and when he does something there are never any half measures. Stokes has to do everything at a hundred miles per hour — there is no other way for him.

“So his workload is in the red zone without the mental strain of captaincy and history tells you if you give the job to your best all-rounder, the graph will go down the longer he does the job. The last thing England need is for Stokes to be affected by high office. Some players do not need an armband to lead and Stokes is one of them,” he added.