In an interview with ESPN, former England captain David Gower said that Ben Stokes shouldn’t be assigned the captaincy, as he has “enough to do,” and he hasn’t fared well in the ongoing Ashes series in Australia.
After England’s three consecutive Ashes losses — Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne — there have been calls back home to consider Joe Root’s replacement. Many former cricketers and critics have called for Stokes, 30, to be given the test captaincy due to his good rapport with teammates.
Gower said he thought Stokes would be an unsuitable captain based on the England Test team leadership dynamics.
“(Ben Stokes) would make a good fist of it because he’s a very instinctive, strong character, and at the moment that’s the sort of character this England side needs,” Gower told sen.com.au’s Sportsday on Tuesday. “Whatever happens in the next two games (Sydney and Hobart), when they go home to the UK and start again, they’re going to need to find some new energy from somewhere,” said the 64-year-old England great.
During the interview, Gower described Root and Stokes as “good friends” who were entirely loyal to each other.
On Monday, Stokes said categorically that he never “had an ambition to be a captain”, and that Root shouldn’t be forced by the Ashes debacle to relinquish the post.
“They are good mates as well. Ben, I can tell you, would be entirely loyal to Joe,” said Gower. There’s no element of plotting behind the captain’s back here… He’s probably very happy for Joe to continue captaining.”
In the three Ashes games so far, Gower didn’t feel it was necessary to place captaincy pressure on Stokes who had just returned to the side after nearly six months away due to mental health problems and a finger injury. Stokes has been unimpressive with both bat and ball so far.
Stokes has been on a roll, scoring 34 in six innings and taking four wickets.
“Ben Stokes at the moment, with this comeback, which hasn’t really gone as well as he would have liked so far, he’s got enough on his plate. I’ve always said with someone like Ben Stokes, you want that sort of de facto leadership in the room, having someone around like Ben around lifts the room and he can do that without being officially captain, he can do that without having to worry about all the other stuff,” opined Gough.
(With inputs from IANS)