West Indies legend Chris Gayle thinks England have made the right call in picking Ben Stokes as Test captain.
Stokes took over from Joe Root after deciding to step down from the role, following intense pressure, following dismemberment in the Ashes and a series defeat in the West Indies.
The all-rounder from Durham was unveiled as his replacement this week and Gayle doesn’t see a better option.
The ‘Universe Boss’ told talkSPORT: “I think it’s the best choice to have a guy like Ben Stokes, he’s been around world-class players and is a good all-rounder.
“I think he is the best choice to lead the England team. It was difficult for Joe Root to step down, but I’m sure he will have the full support of Root and the rest of the players.
“He’s a guy, from what he’s said, who is more focused on English cricket at the moment, which is good.
“He’s looking to achieve more in the sport, on the international side of things.”
Question marks have been raised over how becoming England captain would affect Stokes’ personal game.
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We’ve relied on him a lot in recent years with bat and ball and any drop in form would be a blow.
But Gayle admitted that side of things never really had an impact for him.
When asked if being captain affected his game, Gayle added: “It hasn’t affected mine! It made me a better person. It makes you grow and you know how to relate more to people.
“You know who is for you. It gives you a challenge and when the pressure is on, that’s when you know who is there for you and who will fight for you.
“It’s really a good thing to be a captain and it’s always a privilege to also lead your country.”
The state of England in the Test matches has been a huge topic of debate, with the country being among the world’s best in white-ball cricket.
This perhaps follows a trend in cricket that is focusing on shorter formats of the game overall, which are much more lucrative.
Gayle told talkSPORT: “Test cricket is in trouble. I’m more worried about the lower ranked teams. They don’t get all the support they need.
“The game is such a business now and you have the lower ranked teams getting one or two Test matches.
“It’s always England, India and Australia. It’s the big teams that play four or five test matches against each other, we don’t have that luck with the lower ranked teams. It’s a fight for us.
“We are always going to be at the bottom and that is not good for the sport. It will be a big challenge and the ICC must look into that. It is very important.
T20 cricket is a jugganaurt with franchise leagues popping up all over the world. Cricketers can play all year round and make more money than was possible.
Gayle, who is widely regarded as one of the best T20 batsmen of all time, playing 463 games and scoring almost 15,000 points, admitted he didn’t predict it would be that big.
“At first, I was looking for the easy way out,” he continued. “Shorter format, you can finish faster. I wasn’t really looking into the future.
“What is happening today, I didn’t really expect. Since that game, the Stanford game, the $20 million game. It changed everything in the sport of the T20.
“That’s why you see so many leagues now. IPL is the most important and pays more.
“You can get a future out of this game. T20 cricket is a life changing aspect, it changes a lot of lives. It has for me.
“I’m really happy where it’s going today.”
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