'The most important England captain' - Nasser Hussain stunned by Ben Stokes' leadership

Tourists complete historic whitewash in Pakistan and former skipper is full of admiration

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Former skipper Nasser Hussain has hailed Ben Stokes as “probably the most important England captain” in history as his side completed a 3-0 series whitewash against Pakistan in Karachi.

“I think you should judge a captain at the end of his career, but I don't think I've seen as much of a transformative captain as Ben Stokes,” Hussain told The National.

“I think he will end up as probably the most successful, probably the most important England captain.”

Hussain was the last captain to guide England to a series win in Pakistan in 2000-01, the first time in 39 years. At that time England were the lowest-ranked Test side in the world.

Comparisons have been made with the current Test team, who, before Stokes took over as captain, had only won one out of 17 matches. Since replacing Joe Root, the side have won nine out of 10 after their triumph in the third test in Karachi with their new aggressive and fearless approach, helped by new coach Brendon McCullum.

“There's been a real change in mindset in Stokes and McCullum, they have managed somehow to get rid of the fear of failure," added Hussain.

"And that is such an easy thing to say. But when it's your livelihood, when it's your business, your job, and when you’ve dreamt about playing for England, and when your family are watching you every single delivery and want you to do well, to suddenly take away that fear of failure and almost taking the end result.

“That's what Stokes and McCullum have concentrated on – the process of how do we become better.”

With the Test series all but wrapped up in Pakistan, Hussain says bigger targets will face the England side next year, particularly the Ashes in the UK.

“That is going to be the biggest challenge really, because the attacking style of cricket here in Pakistan with these pitches is absolutely perfect. In England, you're going to need to play conditions a bit.

“You'd think they've got a really good chance, and Australia have got problems at the top of the order and areas of concern. So it'll be a fascinating watch.”

Updated: December 20, 2022, 3:21 PM