POST TIME: 3 June, 2020 12:37:50 PM
Stokes can be England’s ‘captain fantastic’, says Root
Independent Online/ BSS

Stokes can be England’s ‘captain fantastic’, says Root

England skipper Joe Root believes Ben Stokes would make a “fantastic captain” if he has to hand over the reins when he becomes a father again.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) still plan to stage a full international programme despite the coronavirus-shortened season.

The schedule will begin with a three-Test series against the West Indies, starting on July 8 at Southampton — around the time that Root’s wife is due to give birth to their second child.

The England captain said on Tuesday that he would attend the birth come what may, with Stokes in line to take over.

Root has no doubt the star allrounder would cope with the extra burdens of captaincy.

“I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic,” said Root.

“One of his great qualities as vice-captain and as a leader is he sets the example, the way he goes about his training, how he wants to bowl in difficult circumstances, the way he stands up in different scenarios with the bat.

“He drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him.”

Stokes was restored to the England vice-captaincy after missing the 2017/18 Ashes in Australia, before being acquitted on an affray charge following an incident outside a nightclub.

Since then he has played a starring role during England’s triumphant World Cup campaign and scored a stupendous unbeaten Test hundred as England beat Australia at Headingley.

Although England want to keep their squad in a secure “bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they have said players will be allowed to spend time between matches with their families.

“The start of July is the due date, so that complicates things slightly,” said Root.

“In terms of the bubble, and the pregnancy, it’s always an evolving thing, it’s being discussed currently with the medical team.”

The ECB confirmed the revised dates for the West Indies series on Tuesday and Root said it would be a huge boost for the game even if they are behind closed doors.

“It must be extremely scary and I think the whole cricketing world will be grateful to see some cricket again,” he said.