Joe Root is set to miss at least one of the three Tests against West Indies in order to be present at the birth of his second child, due in July. Root has confirmed that he will miss however many matches he needs to, with Stokes - the current vice-captain - the most likely candidate to lead the side in his absence.
And while Root has thrown his support behind Stokes, saying last week that he would be a "fantastic" stand-in, both Gower and Pietersen have expressed their concerns that the burden of the role could prove too much for him to handle.
Gower, whose 32 Tests as England captain in the 1980s included only five wins and 18 defeats, drew a comparison between Stokes and Ian Botham, who failed to win a single Test in the role between 1980 and 1981.
"I prefer Ben Stokes to be your de facto leader by example," Gower told the Mail on Sunday. "He works his nuts off, and trains super hard. He's a driven cricketer.
"The obvious comparison is Beefy [Ian Botham], who was of that ilk, who inspired and led just by being there. Whether that is diminished by the pressures of leadership, only Ben will know. I'm sure he'll do it with gusto. I'd just want someone else to worry about the bits and pieces that make up captaincy."
Pietersen, whose own career as Test captain lasted only three matches before his falling-out with Peter Moores in January 2009, said that the job can leave players in "a difficult place to be".
"I'm not so sure," he told talkSPORT. "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.
"It's a completely different story. 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."
Stokes is highly likely to step into the role while Root is absent, after being handed the vice-captaincy again last year and being given Root's vote of confidence. Along with Buttler, Rory Burns is the other realistic candidate after captaining Surrey to the County Championship in 2018, but neither player is sure of their place in the side.
The nature of the schedule against West Indies, with all three Tests crammed into a three-week window, could leave Root's participation in the series in doubt. The Daily Telegraph reported last week that he will have to self-isolate at home for seven days before he can re-join the squad in its bio-secure 'bubble', and depending on the exact date that his wife gives birth he could find his involvement jeopardised by a lack of opportunity to prepare.