KEVIN PIETERSEN believes Jos Buttler — and not official vice-captain Ben Stokes — should lead England if Joe Root misses the First Test.
Former skipper and top batsman Pietersen says star all-rounder Stokes must be allowed to concentrate on bringing his brand of magic with bat and ball.
With the West Indies’ squad landing today in Manchester, the three-Test series behind closed doors now looks a near-certainty to take place.
But Root, 29, could be forced to hand over the reins for the First Test in Southampton on July 8 because he is attending the birth of his and wife Carrie’s second child early next month.
Having been inside a hospital, Root will be Covid-19 tested following the birth and under current ECB guidelines then isolate at home for seven days without any chance to practise outdoors.
Stokes, 29, is his designated deputy and Root believes he will do a “fantastic” job.
But Pietersen, who captained England in just three Tests before being sacked following a fall-out with coach Peter Moores, said: “I’m not so sure.
“The entertainers and the guys that have to carry that mantle in the team sometimes aren’t the best captains and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure.
“You get looked at completely differently. Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes.
“It’s a difficult place to be. 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’s frowned upon, it’s a completely different story.”
KP, talking to talkSPORT, added: “So do I think 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 was echoing the view of another ex-England captain David Gower, who believes Stokes can lead by example without actually having the job of stand-in leader.
The Windies squad lands this morning on a charter flight from Antigua — the first sports team to arrive from overseas since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Players and support staff were tested for Covid-19 last week and will have another test on arrival in the UK. They were told to social-distance on the flight.
All the party will stay at the hotel on site at Old Trafford and will be allowed to begin training tomorrow despite having to quarantine for 14 days under UK law.
The players will work individually and in small groups to begin with, then play three-day and four-day matches among themselves after the two-week quarantine period.
Flights from various Caribbean countries to the Antigua hub as well as the charter to the UK have been paid for by the ECB at a cost of around £450,000.