Ben Stokes is a viable alternative for England's captaincy: Michael Atherton

Ben Stokes is a viable alternative for England’s captaincy: Michael Atherton

England and Australia will play the fourth Ashes Test on January 5.

Ben Stokes and Michael Atherton
Ben Stokes and Michael Atherton. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

England lost the Boxing Day Test by an innings and 14 runs and with that loss, England’s dream to win an Ashes in Australia remains the same. England has not been able to win the last three Ashes under Joe Root’s captaincy. Two tests are still left in the ongoing Ashes and England is on the verge of losing the Ashes by a 5-0 margin.

English coach Chris Silverwood has also come under scrutiny as England has won only one Test out of the last 12 under his coaching. Silverwood has been associated with the English team since January 2018 when he joined as the fast bowling coach. In October 2019, Silverwood was promoted to the head coach position after Trevor Bayliss’ departure. Silverwood’s decision to bat first in the first Test and drop Stuart Broad and James Anderson came under scrutiny. In the second Test, Silverwood was criticized for dropping Jack Leach from the playing 11.

Former English captain Michael Atherton has said that Root should take responsibility for losing the Ashes and further added that Ben Stokes should take the charge of the English team. Atherton criticized England’s selection strategy and mentioned that the series might have been a closer affair if Root had got things right.

“There have been so many errors here, from selection to strategy, that the captain has to bear personal responsibility. This could have been a much closer series had Root got things right on the field,” Atherton wrote in The Times.

“Root has been a good England captain, and has always carried himself superbly and is an incredible ambassador for the sport, but having done the job for five years and having had three cracks at the Ashes, including two awful campaigns in Australia, it is time for someone else to have a go.

“Ben Stokes is a viable alternative, having done an excellent job as a stand-in briefly in the summer. His bowling is starting to wind down, and, as he may not get into England’s best T20 side now, he can be given a breather during those matches.”

Chris Silverwood should not survive after the Ashes: Michael Atherton

Atherton said that the appointment of Silverwood has not worked really well for the England team. He also added that Silverwood’s departure would allow a reorganization of the coaching and selecting responsibilities.

“At the moment there seems to be an absence of authority and an unwillingness to challenge the players. There is no way Silverwood will (or should) survive the Ashes, which should allow a reorganization of the coaching and selecting responsibilities,” concluded Atherton.