Dad-to-be Root skips Test, Stokes to lead England

LONDON • England captain Joe Root will miss next week's first Test against the West Indies, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed yesterday.

Root will leave the training camp at the Ageas Bowl today to be with his wife Carrie, who is expecting their second child later this week.

The 29-year-old skipper will miss England's three-day intra-squad warm-up match starting today and next week's first Test, also being staged at Hampshire's headquarters, which starts on July 8.

Under health protocols for the bio-secure series, he will begin a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves hospital with his family, in a measure designed to combat the spread of Covid-19.

England hope to have the Yorkshire batsman back with their squad for the second Test at Old Trafford, which starts on July 16. The Manchester ground is also the venue for the third and final match of the series, which is taking place behind closed doors.

Vice-captain Ben Stokes will lead England for the first time in Southampton. Jos Buttler will take over as vice-captain for the opening match of the series, which marks the return of major international cricket from lockdown.

Stokes had said earlier he was "proud" to have put himself into a position to replace Root as skipper.

"Even if it's only the once you can still say 'yeah, I've captained England'," he said on Monday.

He was restored to his position as Test vice-captain last July, nearly a year after being found not guilty of affray following an incident outside a nightclub.

"After that happened it was 'right, how am I going to carry and conduct myself'?" he said. "I'm quite proud to say I'm in this situation through hard work and determination. I wanted to get better."

But he insisted captaincy had never been on his list of priorities.

"If I'm being honest, I'm not one of those that people would necessarily associate (as) the next captain," said the 29-year-old.

England's star all-rounder also insisted that leadership would not dull his attacking style.

"Even if I am in charge that's not going to change the way that I go about things, which is try to make a positive effect with the ball or bat in my hand," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'Dad-to-be Root skips Test, Stokes to lead England'. Print Edition | Subscribe