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Ben Stokes should be the ‘obvious one’ to replace Joe Root: Atherton

Stokes will be the number one candidate for the responsibility as he is already the vice captain of the team and is a regular starter in the side when fit.

SNS | New Delhi |

Former England captain Michael Atherton has expressed his view after England cricketer Joe Root decided to step down as England Test captain on Friday and feels that Ben Stokes should be the ‘obvious’ replacement for Test cricket captaincy. Joe Root made the decision to step down as captain after the humiliating Ashes series defeat following a 1-0 defeat in the away test series at West Indies.

Atherton also said that the dressing room will also be a happy as 30-year-old Ben Stokes would be taking the captaincy role after Root deciding to give it up on his own accord. The two players also have a pretty good relationship outside of the pitch as well.

“There aren’t many (choices). You’ve got to pick someone worth their place in the side. The days are long gone where you could have a Mike Brearley figure, someone who wouldn’t necessarily be the first choice. Because of the scrutiny, you’ve got to be worth your place in the side,” Atherton said to Sky Sports.

“Ben Stokes is the obvious one, and what helps is that Joe Root has stepped down of his own accord. Ben Stokes is very loyal to Joe (Root) and he will feel a lot easier about taking the job if offered given that Root stepped down of his own accord.”

Stokes will be the number one candidate for the responsibility as he is already the vice captain of the team and is a regular starter in the side when fit.

The 54-year-old Atherton, who has a decent amount of experience having played 115 Tests, 54 as captain between the years 1993 and 2001, feels that Root should have relinquished captaincy  right after the disastrous Ashes series in Australia.

“I’m not surprised. It had got to a stage at the end of the Ashes, even before the West Indies tour, where it was pretty clear change was needed. There comes a moment in every England captain’s life where you realize you’ve given it all and you can’t do anymore. I think there was a particular moment in the Grenada Test (third Test v West Indies) where Ben Stokes was run out, the England team were sliding out and the cameras panned in on Joe Root on the England balcony with a look of despair and that realization came to him he should really have stepped down at the end of the Ashes given how that tour had gone,” Atherton further added.

“They (England and Wales Cricket Board) tried to insulate his captaincy by getting rid of the coach Chris Silverwood and managing director and leaving some senior players (for the West Indies Test tour), but I think it was pretty evident Joe had come to the end of the road.”

(Inputs from IANS)