Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen is against the idea of Ben Stokes captaining the national team in the Test series against West Indies starting July 8.
With Joe Root expecting his second child somewhere during the first week of July, Stokes, his deputy in Tests, is the likely candidate to lead the team for the opening Test at the Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester. But Pietersen backed wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler to fill in for Root, believing allrounder Stokes would be better off without the added responsibility of captaincy.
"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."
Stokes has been captain just three times in his cricket career: once for Durham under-17s and twice for Durham's academy, having won, lost, and drawn a game each. Citing his own example, Pietersen – who led England in three Tests and 12 ODIs – explained how he had a tough time balancing batting and captaincy when he was appointed captain of the side in 2008.
"I struggled with it, I absolutely hated it and I was rubbish. You have to change and I couldn't command the respect of the dressing room." he said.
The three Test series, which will be played in a bio-secure environment, marks the resumption of international cricket since it was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pietersen, who officially announced his retirement from professional cricket in March of 2018, rued the fact that cricket will be played without crowd and that he is more than happy to perform his role as a broadcaster.
"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."