Former England captain Nasser Hussain has said that while it is early days in Ben Stokes’ captaincy, but given the fact that the all-rounder did not have any real experience of red-ball captaincy, the 31-year old had really “impressed” in the Test series against New Zealand.
Stokes and new England Test coach Brendon McCullum have forged a winning partnership as the duo has guided the home team to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series against the Black Caps.
“It is early days still but considering Ben Stokes did not have any real experience of red-ball captaincy before this series against New Zealand, you have to be impressed with what you see. Watching this England side it is obvious who is leading the team,” said Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.
“Sometimes it can be captaincy by committee, sometimes there is a lot of input from the outside to a captain but at the moment it is obvious who is wearing the armband. Stokes has good body language as a leader and he is always at mid-off chatting with, and cajoling, his bowler.”
Hussain felt that Stokes’ ability to back his players was the biggest reason for England’s Test turnaround. Citing the example of spinner Jack Leach, who hasn’t had a great season, Hussain said that Stokes backing him on the opening day of the third Test had worked wonders for the tweaker.
“He (Stokes) backs people. In the first hour on Thursday (Day 1 of third Test) he went with the left-arm spin of Jack Leach and was rewarded. Leach was under a bit of pressure but I have noticed both here and in Nottingham, where he was also introduced into the attack early, that Stokes is constantly behind him.”
Hussain added that Stokes’ captaincy, while being positive, was not the least reckless.
“He has instilled an attacking mindset into England and although it is very much the start of his captaincy career, you would not recognise that from observing. He strikes me as someone who even when he was not captain would always be thinking about the game. Should we have that man back? Should the catchers be kept in?”