Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels that England will be in huge trouble if all-rounder Ben Stokes doesn’t show interest in becoming the Test captain.
Stokes is widely tipped to be the next Test captain of England men’s team ahead of the three-match series against New Zealand in June after Joe Root resigned as the skipper earlier this month.
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“There’s only one viable captaincy option in the best XI and that’s allrounder Ben Stokes. If he seriously isn’t interested in the job, then England are in big trouble. To question Stokes’ viability based purely on the inferior captaincy of previous star allrounders is indefensible. Stokes has the fire in his belly and the positive approach to be successful. However, that alone doesn’t guarantee success," wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.
Chappell then went on to explain why he doesn’t see veteran pacer Stuart Broad and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler as feasible options for Test captaincy. “Stuart Broad is an intelligent, well-spoken player, but he should not be a captaincy consideration. He’s now too old and maintains a conservative streak, especially when it comes to field placings for his own bowling."
“Jos Buttler is not a Test wicketkeeper; he has no obvious place in the first XI. It’s hard enough to win Tests against a good team when you are playing level at XI-a-side, never mind prevailing when you are asked to perform while short-handed - just ask Mike Brearley."
Irrespective of who becomes England’s Test captain, Chappell thinks that the future skipper should look to improve England as an overall unit, with regards to batters especially. “Whoever accepts the appointment, his initial job will be to make a poorly performing England side better. That is a captain’s job - to improve any team’s results."
“This shouldn’t be hard, as England have some good, underperforming batters. It was also a trend under Root that England suffered great misfortune with their genuinely fast bowlers, especially Jofra Archer. Nonetheless batters Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence possess a lot of skill but need encouragement to display it regularly."
Chappell signed off by saying that if Stokes is made the Test captain, then he can encourage uncapped duo of leg-spinner Matt Parkinson and pacer Jamie Overton to be regulars in the side.
“If Stokes does accept the job, he may be the beneficiary of Parkinson’s evolution if he provides a strong voice at the selection table. And while he’s at it, he could overcome the fast-bowling shortage by encouraging Jamie Overton in his endeavours. There’s no doubt Overton has suffered from multiple injuries, but his genuine pace, even at under-age level, has been poorly handled on the county circuit."
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