England’s new Test skipper Ben Stokes must learn to trust his own decisions rather than ‘captain by committee’ and should perhaps limit his bowling responsibilities to prevent burnout, former captain Nasser Hussain said.
Stokes was unveiled as Joe Root’s successor on Thursday with England hoping for a turnaround in their Test fortunes under the talismanic all-rounder.
England won just one of their last 17 Tests with Root at the helm, a run which included a 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia and a 1-0 series defeat in West Indies.
“The point is that Ben is his own man. He’s driven, he’s got a good cricket brain …,” Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“Ben will have to use his gut, and my only advice is that he shouldn’t captain by committee.”
“Sometimes with Root there was too much input from those off the field, so he never found a gut feel for tactics.”
Stokes has battled injuries in recent times and took a break last year to look after his mental health.
Hussain said Rob Key, who was appointed the new managing director of England men’s cricket earlier this month, would have to protect Stokes from burnout.
“Clearly, his workload will need managing. Key has to work out what, in golf terms, are his majors,” added Hussain.
“For a team who have won just one out of 17 and are bottom of the World Test Championship, stringing together some victories is the No 1 priority.”
Hussain expected Stokes to either skip bilateral one-day series or play those purely as a batter
“Whatever happens, if he needs resting – and Stokes will have to be honest with Key and the selectors – then England should pay attention.”
“There is no point bowling himself into the ground, which then affects the balance of the team. He should be England’s fifth bowler, no more.”
Stokes begins his tenure with a two-Test series against the country of his birth, New Zealand, in June.
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