London: Kevin Pietersen reckons that star all-rounder Ben Stokes must not be burdened with captaincy if regular skipper Joe Root is unavailable for England’s first Test against the West Indies.
The former England skipper instead backed wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler for the top job.
England red-ball captain Root is a doubtful starter for the series-opener, starting July 8 as his wife is due to give birth to their second child.
As per the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) guidelines Root will be required to undergo seven days of self-isolation before rejoining the national team.
“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,” Pietersen told talkSPORT.
Pietersen is sceptical about Stokes being loaded with added responsibility of leading the team. “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,” Pietersen said.
“As a player you are looked at completely differently until that phone call comes and you are announced as the Test captain. Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes,” he added.
Recalling his short stint as captain, Pietersen said he hated the job. “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, you say something and it is frowned upon, it is a completely different story,” Pietersen said.
Last week, Root threw his weight behind Stokes for being the interim captain. “I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic. One of his great qualities as vice-captain and as a leader is that 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,” Root had said.