Former England captains believe Stokes can succeed Root as test skipper
Nasser Hussain believes Ben Stokes has enough respect to cope with the expectation of succeeding Joe Root as England’s test match captain.
However, the former Essex batsman has warned Stokes must be “in the right place mentally and physically” before any appointment is confirmed.
English cricket was shocked on Friday morning when it was announced Root had decided to bring an end to his five-year spell as captain following series defeats against Australia and the West Indies.
Attention quickly turned towards possible successors with many onlookers stating Stokes is the only realistic options.
Some have suggested a short-term role for veteran bowler Stuart Broad or allowing the likes of Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler to step up is there way to go.
Hussain insisted Stokes can succeed Root - but believes the ECB will have to discuss the role at length with their most high-profile player following his recent well-publicised battle with mental health.
He told Sky Sports: “The difficult thing for Stokes is the point I made about the toll it takes on you as a captain.
“You have to be in the right place mentally and physically.
“Obviously, Ben’s been through some issues mentally off the field of late, and if I was the new managing director of cricket, the very first journey I would be making would be to go and have a cup of coffee with Ben and ask him where he is with his game, with his life away from his game to make sure he’s in the right place.
“From what I see, the players hang on every word Stokes says in that dressing room. He doesn’t even have to say anything, and they look in his direction to see his reaction.
“He’s so well respected in that dressing room and Root would love playing under Stokes. Root is the sort of guy would play under anyone, but Root would give his everything for Stokes.”
Another man familiar with the stresses and strains of coping with English cricket’s most high-profile on-field role believes Stokes is the only realistic option to succeed Root.
Michael Vaughan was test skipper for five years between 2003 and 2008 and was the man in charge when England claimed the Ashes in a series many believe to be the greatest of all time.
The former Yorkshire batsman believes he fact Stokes has “a great cricket brain” and an “incredible” will to win means he is the only player capable of stepping into the breech.
And Vaughan also insisted the Durham all-rounder would be able to count on the backing of his predecessor if he was to take charge.
Speaking in his latest Telegraph column, he said: “There is only one person that should take over the Test team now and that is Ben Stokes.
“When someone takes over the mantle, you have got no idea what they will be like.
“But he’s got a great cricket brain - you can see that when he bats. And his will to win is incredible.
“Yes, Stokes doesn’t have that much captaincy experience. But sometimes that is not so important if you have a presence and feel for the game.”
“What Ben will need around him is people who tell him: ‘Ben, you can’t do everything.’ My slight worry is that Ben will try to do everything - he will not get his own performances right if he goes in with that mentality.
“It is just about getting the right people in the right positions - England have a lot of support staff, who they need to get right. And Joe Root could be his biggest ally.
“He will not be the vice-captain but he will be able to give Ben his honest feedback day in, day out. They are very close.”