Ahead of his first Test match as a captain, former India legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has rated England all-rounder Ben Stokes 'highly' and said he is going to have 'major impact' on the field.
England's regular Test captain Joe Root will not play the first match of three-game series against West Indies as he left the camp to attend the birth of his second child.
Stokes will now become the 81st captain of England men's Test team when he took the field in the first game.
"For Ben Stokes, what he has been through in recent past and where he is today, it is a total transformation and that can only happen when you are mentally strong. When I first looked at him, that was a few years ago, I could see his body language so positive and so vibrant," Tendulkar said on his official YouTube channel in conversation with former West Indies great batsman Brian Lara.
The former right-handed batsman said Stokes' energy is infectious and down the line, he will become one of the greatest all-rounders for his country.
"That energy is infectious. I felt he was one of those players, where you know in time to come and look back and say, Ben Stokes, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff these are the leading all-rounders who played for England," he added.
Stokes had an exceptional 2019 as he guided England to their first 50-over World Cup win and was instrumental in the Ashes campaign as well.
The 29-year-old has played 63 Tests and scored 4056 runs and scalped 147 wickets so far. He scored nine tons and 21 fifties in his career so far.
"I really rate him highly and his impact on the field is going to be a major one. He is someone who is gonna lead from the front. We have seen that on a number of occasions. He is aggressive, positive and when he has to be slightly defensive he is prepared to do that for the team. I always feel controlled aggression produces result. So far, what I have seen the aggression has been there but it is controlled," Tendulkar said.
The first Test between England and West Indies will mark the restart of international cricket after a more than three months break due to the coronavirus pandemic. The game will be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton at 3:30 pm.
The ICC has also confirmed interim changes to its playing regulations, including the ban of saliva to shine the ball and allowing replacement of players displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test match.
( With inputs from ANI )