Sir Viv singles Stokes out as key for England


West Indies legend Sir Viv Richards thinks England could well be the number one Test team in the world, and feels all-rounder Ben Stokes will be key in achieving that ambition.

Richards, who is with the Quetta Gladiators in the PSL as their mentor, felt that England's series win over South Africa recently showed how good they could be, and that they could move from fifth to first in future.

Richards told the Cricket Australa website: "When you look at the English team and the way they played in South Africa – they demoralised South Africa in my opinion. 

"That team itself does have the quality and the depth. When I say depth you have (allrounder) Moeen Ali coming in at number eight. 

"Ben Stokes, he has performed incredibly well over the past year and when you look at his performance you could easily say he is one of the better allrounders in world cricket today. 

"He has been very, very special. 

"So having that team and (James) Anderson and (Stuart) Broad and that four-pronged attack, it is a very special team. 

"If they can maintain their form I can’t see why they shouldn’t be the number one team in the world. 

"Certainly, the potential is there and the talent is there and they've got the substance to become number one." 

One England player Sir Viv would not comment on was Kevin Pietersen, refusing to talk about the World Twenty20 squad selection. He did say that Pietersen, who is with the Gladiators, made any team he was a part of a better side.

He said: "I am not going to get into that. I do not deal with other people’s problems. But what I can say is that whoever he is playing for, that team is going to benefit. 

"I do not worry about history. It is for them to think about whether they think he's good or not to be in the team. But I can say the Quetta Gladiators would certainly benefit from his experience being in the team. 

"I have seen him also in the Big Bash. The Melbourne Stars would have benefited from his ability as a very special batsman.

"So I just believe that this kid has done remarkably well so I am not going to think about the negatives. The positive – having him around – has been great."