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‘His workload is in the red zone’ – Hussain doesn’t want Stokes as full-time captain

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes Ben Stokes is the perfect candidate to stand in for full-time captain Joe Root, but has reservations about the all-rounder potentially taking over the job on a permanent basis.

“There is no one better than Ben Stokes to step in for Joe Root as a short-term captain when England take on West Indies in the first Test next week,” Hussain wrote in his column on Daily Mail.

“Stokes is extremely loyal, so Root would not have to worry he would be handing his job over to someone with any kind of ulterior motive of wanting to take it for good. When Joe returns, Ben will happily hand the captaincy back to him.”

However, in the long term, Hussain believed it would put too much strain on Stokes, whose workload is already “in the red zone”.

“The long term is a different matter,” he wrote. “With the full-time England captaincy comes expectancy, selection, ups and downs, and a lot of things that can weigh you down. So I would be concerned about giving it to Ben permanently at some point down the line.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in world cricket who does as much as Ben Stokes. Maybe Virat Kohli but he doesn’t bowl. Stokes’ plate is full, and when he does something there are never any half measures. Stokes has to do everything at a hundred miles per hour – there is no other way for him.

“So his workload is in the red zone without the mental strain of captaincy, and history tells you if you give the job to your best all-rounder, the graph will go down the longer he does the job. The last thing England need is for Stokes to be affected by high office. Some players do not need an armband to lead and Stokes is one of them.”

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