‘Stokes does not need extra captaincy pressure’

Kevin Pietersen does not think Ben Stokes should captain England if Joe Root is forced to miss a game against the West Indies because it would heap too much pressure on the all-rounder.

Root’s wife is due to give birth in July, meaning he risks missing one of the three behind-closed-doors Tests against the Caribbean side next month.

Root has backed vice-captain Stokes to do a good job in his absence, but former England skipper Pietersen is wary about the all-rounder assuming even more responsibility.

Pietersen, who said he “hated” the responsibility of being captain of England for a brief spell, would prefer wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler to take over.

“Do I want to see Ben Stokes change from who he is and the current player he is? Probably not. Jos Buttler would be my guy,” he told talkSPORT.

“The entertainers and the guys that have to carry the mantle in the team sometimes aren’t the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.”

Pietersen said the captaincy changed how players were viewed in the dressing room.

“I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish,” he said. “You have to change and I couldn’t command the respect of the dressing room.”

England begin their summer of cricket, which has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, on July 8 with the first Test against the West Indies.

Further international matches against Pakistan, Australia and Ireland are all pencilled in, but they are all likely to be played in empty stadiums.

“I would rather be in the broadcaster chair than in the players’ chair because entertainers like atmosphere and you are going to have to build your own atmosphere and dig as deep as you can to try your best and perform in front of a whisper,” Pietersen said.

“It is going to be hard, especially for cricket. Six hours, when you’re in the field and guys are batting and you’re 100 overs into an innings, England are going to have to dig deep because it is going to feel like a warm-up game, with no one watching.” — AFP

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