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Joe Root: Candidates Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad to become next England Test captain, say Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain | Cricket News


Ben Stokes (left) and Stuart Broad (right) are the main candidates to replace Joe Root as England captain

Former England captains Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain believe Ben Stokes is the “obvious” candidate to take on the role following Joe Root’s resignation as test skipper.

Root announced his resignation on Friday after a losing streak in the West Indies last month left England with just one victory in their last 17 Tests.

Stokes, who served as vice-captain under Root, is the favorite to take on the role, but as recently as January said he had “never really had any ambition” to be skipper.

The 30-year-old took a six-month break from cricket last year to rest an injured finger and prioritize his mental well-being, before returning to play on England’s tours of Australia and the West Indies.

Stuart Broad, 35, has been touted as a short-term option for the role, despite being selected for just three of England’s five Ashes Tests in Australia and omitted from the squad for the West Indies tour .

Sky Sports News reporter James Cole discusses the moment

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Sky Sports News reporter James Cole discusses the ‘strange’ moment of Root’s decision to step down as England captain and ponders who could replace him.

Sky Sports News reporter James Cole discusses the ‘strange’ moment of Root’s decision to step down as England captain and ponders who could replace him.

Atherton: Root cleared the way for stalwart Stokes

Atherton, who captained England from 1993 to 1998, believes Root’s decision to step down rather than be sacked as skipper will make Stokes more comfortable in the role.

You need to choose someone who deserves their place on the team. I think the days are long gone where you could have a Mike Brearley type character, who wouldn’t necessarily be a top pick. Just because of the scrutiny you have to earn your place on the team, so Ben Stokes is the obvious candidate.

I think what helps is that Joe Root resigned of his own volition. Ben Stokes’ one big defining characteristic is loyalty, and he’s very loyal to Joe Root as his number two, and very good friends with him. He’ll feel a lot easier to take the job, if it comes his way, given that Root resigned of his own volition rather than being kicked out. I think it helps Stokes membership if it comes.

Former England captain Michael Atherton says Stokes seems like the obvious candidate to replace Root.

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Former England captain Michael Atherton says Stokes seems like the obvious candidate to replace Root.

Former England captain Michael Atherton says Stokes seems like the obvious candidate to replace Root.

One of the great things about Joe Root is how he has kept his own personal form under the scrutiny and pressure and demands of the captaincy. He’s a world-class player, he’s one of England’s greatest hitters and he’s kept up his own personal performances – even during the scorching days of 2021 when the team was slipping defeat after defeat – his personal performances were exceptional.

Whether Ben Stokes, if he does show up, can do so is unknown. It didn’t go over well with other all-rounders who came before him like (Ian) Botham and (Andrew) Flintoff, but that doesn’t mean it won’t suit him, but you never really know until to what you try.

There was very clearly, after the 2015 World Cup in Australia, a desire to put English whiteball cricket on a better footing, and that had some kind of impact on the test team, and obviously Covid has also had an impact – it was a double whammy and it led to a frankly unsustainable schedule.

Joe Root can’t be held responsible for these things – as captain you’re really responsible for what happens under your watch with the team, and there’s a lot going on in Australia and lately where they weren’t doing things correctly. They weren’t doing it right with the selection, the draw decisions and the strategy on the pitch.

All those things you can kick out of the captain, but what you can’t kick out of the captain is the structure of English cricket, the schedules, the first class state of the game, the way whose governing body has not looked after and taken care of top class cricket meaning you don’t get the level and quality of players up to the test team.

Hussain: Stokes needs to be in the right place physically and mentally

Hussain, who captained England from 1999 to 2003, said Broad would be a viable short-term option should Stokes not want to become skipper.

For me, the obvious candidate is Ben Stokes. People say, ‘Oh, Ben Stokes’, do you know what happened to Flintoff and Botham? Ben Stokes is not Flintoff and he is not Botham, don’t judge him by what others have done.

Stokes has done phenomenal things as a cricketer and has a very smart cricketing brain. He showed it in the World Cup final, he showed it at Headingley, the way he works in difficult times. He showed it when he occasionally took over from Joe Root.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes is the best option to replace Root as captain.

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Former England captain Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes is the best option to replace Root as captain.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain says Ben Stokes is the best option to replace Root as captain.

The hard thing for Stokes is the point I made about the toll it costs you as a captain. You have to be in the right place mentally and physically.

Obviously Ben has been having some mental issues off the pitch lately, and if I were the new chief executive of cricket the very first trip I would take 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 are clinging to every word Stokes says in that locker room. He doesn’t even have to say anything, and they look in his direction to see his reaction. He’s so respected in this dressing room and Root would love to play under Stokes. Root is the type of guy who would play under anyone, but Root would give anything for Stokes.

Highlights from day four of the third Ashes Test at Headingley in 2019 as Ben Stokes led England to a remarkable victory.

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Highlights from day four of the third Ashes Test at Headingley in 2019 as Ben Stokes led England to a remarkable victory.

Highlights from day four of the third Ashes Test at Headingley in 2019 as Ben Stokes led England to a remarkable victory.

If Stokes isn’t in the right place then short term Stuart Broad has great cricketing brains, is a real fighter, a real competitor, and he’s got a point to prove after what’s happened over the last few months and we know what Broad is like when he has something to prove.

Pat Cummins has led Australia as a bowler with flying colors, so in the short term I can see Broad doing the same.

There are not many candidates the other option is to go out the side and follow the Graeme Smith route that South Africa did, go out the side and look into the county cricket but for me, Stokes and Broad stand out.

Compton: Broad has experience and a winning mentality

Former England striker Nick Compton said he would insert Broad as captain with a view to allowing Stokes to take on the role in future.

The important thing is that whoever is captain is part of the team. I don’t think talking about players who haven’t earned their stripes in the team is helpful. The guy I put forward is Stuart Broad, I think he’s the right person in this difficult phase.

He has the experience and that winning mentality. He may be at the twilight of his career; he’s seen a lot and he’s been through a lot and over the last year or so. We saw a guy who upped his own game, with Jimmy Anderson.

Former England striker Nick Compton backed Broad to take over as captain.

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Former England striker Nick Compton backed Broad to take over as captain.

Former England striker Nick Compton backed Broad to take over as captain.

He’s the kind of guy who could get together with the new manager and put a marker on how this England team needs to go forward. He potentially won’t be around for a long time, but I think he’s the right person.

The one thing you can say about Stuart Broad is that when you need him, he’s committed. there is no doubt.

I think Ben would be an exceptional leader. He’s clearly been a great support for Joe Root, he’s an exceptional player and he’s part of the team, which is important.

I think he’s had a lot on his plate lately, he was out and probably rushed into the Ashes a little too fast. He finds his marks. We need Ben Stokes performing at all levels; bowling, batting and being the brilliant defenseman that he is.

I think it’s a little early right now. I would love to see Ben go there and continue to play for England, put himself in a good place because we know when he thinks about it he is arguably one of the best cricketers in the world.

I don’t think this is the right time for him to take on that responsibility.




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