Ben Stokes told he can follow in Ricky Ponting’s footsteps with captaincy role

Ben Stokes has been backed to make a huge success of his time as England captain after turning his life around like Ricky Ponting.

While there has been many a comparison between Stokes and previous England captaining all rounders Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff, it is an Aussie great who is providing the clues for former England player and coach David Lloyd.

More affectionately known as 'Bumble', Lloyd has seen everything there is to see in the game as player, coach, umpire and commentator over more than 50 years.

And he reckons Stokes' brush with the law and subsequent heroics on the field mirror those of Ponting who was knocked unconscious in a Sydney bar fight as a 24-year-old, faced up to his demons and went on to become a dead-set legend of the game.

“I think Stokes will do a brilliant job,” said the 73-year-old from his home near Old Trafford. “He'll be excellent.

“I think he is a thoroughly impressive bloke and I just sense that they are all going to play for him and they are all going to jump through hoops for him.

“Without going over Bristol, that was a real turning point in his life and he has completely turned himself round for the better.

“It is very similar to Ricky Ponting back in Sydney. Ricky changed and became a wonderful captain and a wonderful player and a real decent bloke, and I see that in Stokes.”

Neither Botham nor Flintoff had a great time of life as captains although there was a brief high for Flintoff when he helped secured a draw in India at the outset before things went downhill.

And Bumble, who was Flintoff's coach at Lancashire and then gave him his first England cap, doesn't think Stokes will struggle the way they did.

“I think Stokes is a different animal to the other two all rounders, he is ultra-fit,” he added. “But I can see the comparison.

“Beefy had it briefly and it was a disaster. With Andrew I would say he didn't needed the burden and then they made him captain period.

“As captain there is a lot of discipline required and at the time in the case of both Andrew and Beefy you would say there wasn't much discipline.”

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Bumble will watch the first Test from home before joining the socially distanced commentary box at Old Trafford for the next two.

Sky Sports will bring some innovations to their behind-closed-doors coverage with different camera angles and player access, and have decided on employing a low level 'Lord's hum' when it comes to crowd noise but there won't be cheers at wickets or boundaries.

Lloyd added: “I was apprehensive at first about all of it, but I'm comfortable now and I want to do my bit. I feel like I've got an obligation to the public.

“I'm in the vulnerable category, but I've got no underlying health problems apart from being crackers!”

Every ball of England’s summer will be exclusively live on Sky Sports Cricket and NOW TV starting with England v West Indies from 8 th July.

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