Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Ben Stokes is the only man ready to lead England's Test team. With the leadership role put upon Stokes, he added, he could better his own game. With England's Test chances in bad shape under current skipper Joe Root, questions have been raised as to whether a change in captaincy will revive the team's fortunes in the game's longest format.
"Ben Stokes is the only one who can take over. If Stokes was captain of that team, I believe he would improve as a player. I believe that with a little more responsibility, he may become an even greater player, which would benefit the rest of the squad "According to Pon
All-rounders like Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff, who stepped down as captains after struggling in the post, may stop England from selecting Stokes as full-time captain in Test cricket. However, Ponting believed that appointing Stokes as captain may be the key for England's comeback in Test cricket. Despite a side injury on his left, Stokes scored 66 runs in the first innings.
"Even with top-order batsmen, you'll find times where it hasn't worked all the way through. It just works for some people and doesn't for others. I don't know Ben Stokes very well, but if I were trying to improve the face of English cricket by giving it a bit more heart and soul, I believe he would be the man to lead the squad. Even with what we saw yesterday, the fact that he was able to stand up in such physical pain says a lot about him, and his team will benefit from it. I'm confident anyone who plays under him will grow an arm and a leg."
Ponting also told Root that remaining as Test captain after the Ashes would drain him, suggesting parallel between his own final days as leader and Root's current situation. "I believe it will simply grind him down. Even looking back on my career, I believe I played a couple of years longer than I should have, and possibly even captained a couple of years longer. The challenge is becoming extremely hard, and it is holding you down."