Alec Stewart has said Surrey captain Rory Burns has “earned the right” to be Alastair Cook’s replacement at the top of England’s order in Tests.
The Surrey director of cricket and former England opener said: “People will say I am biased but I look at it from a neutral point of view and if he isn’t the replacement then I will have a lot to say.”
Speaking to Sky Sports News during day one of the county’s trip to Essex in the County Championship, where Burns became the first player to 1,000 County Championship runs in 2018, Stewart added: “He has earned the right to play and then it’s down to him. Can he deal with everything international cricket throws at you? Is his temperament right? I’ll say yes.
“I’d be very comfortable in recommending him to the selectors if asked and saying that he is the right person to step up.”
Stewart, who paid tribute to Cook’s stellar career, hoped Burns will be given an extended run in the England team.
“England next Test match after the Oval is in Sri Lanka so he actually may face his ball in Test cricket opening the batting against spin and that will be something new to him but you hope, given the opportunity, that he will settle in to international cricket.
“You are never going to fill the shoes of Cook but he could at least have a good run opening the batting home and away so he can bed in and show the qualities he has shown for Surrey over a period of time.”
Stewart, who had his own farewell Test at the Oval in 2003, also had some advice for Cook going into the game on Friday.
“He will be looking forward to it. I spoke to him about 10 days ago when he told me that this was going to be his last game and I told him to enjoy it.
“There is going to be so much press coverage about how great he has been – rightly so–- and he is going to get standing ovations. But he’s got to clear his mind almost as he still has a job to do.”