"It's a bit like Virat Kohli in India" - Michael Atherton on England superstar's presence in national team

Michael Atherton and Virat Kohli. (Image Credits: Twitter)
Michael Atherton and Virat Kohli. (Image Credits: Twitter)

Former batter Michael Atherton believes Ben Stokes' presence in the England side is equivalent to what Virat Kohli is for India. Atherton also underlined how much Kohli values red-ball cricket.

Stokes, who replaced Joe Root as England's Test captain, has reversed their fortunes dramatically in a very short time.

Since the all-rounder took charge, England have won six out of their seven Tests and will face Pakistan in a three-match series high on confidence.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Atherton said he has high hopes for Stokes as England's Test skipper.

The former opener felt the all-rounder had an integral role in persuading Liam Livingstone to be available for Test cricket, stating:

"The importance of Stokes to this project, it's a bit like Virat Kohli in India. Kohli is the most important cricketer in India, and therefore probably the world, and he was very much: 'I still think Test cricket is a worthwhile thing to be involved in', and therefore young players followed that."

Atherton added:

"Stokes saying to Livingstone: 'Forget the Big Bash and the ยฃ150,000, come and play Test cricket for us in Pakistan'. He's a very hard man to say no to is Ben Stokes. So having a player of that stature, charisma and importance, that still values the five-day game, is a big thing."

Kohli, the former Indian Test captain, is the most successful skipper in the nation's history, registering 40 wins in 68 Tests and suffering no series loss at home. The right-handed batter also holds the record for the fourth-highest number of wins as Test skipper.

"You're only going to be judged on runs" - Former England captain Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain. (Image Credits: Getty)
Nasser Hussain. (Image Credits: Getty)

Atherton's fellow countryman Nasser Hussain believes runs are the only currency and young players should focus on getting them rather than the style of play. He said:

"If I was giving any kind of advice to any young player, you're only going to be judged on the runs. Not the way you play, however much Stokes and McCullum say: 'We want these type of players'. If you get runs, Alastair Cook-type players can still play in this side because they got the runs. So go and get it, that is still the currency to stay in the side."
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Meanwhile, the tourists have named their eleven for the first Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi, with Liam Livingstone set to make his debut.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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