Stokes will stand in for Root in the first Test against WI © AFP
Joe Root will miss the first Test against West Indies next week to be at the birth of his second child. Ben Stokes will captain England for the first time in Root’s absence while Jos Buttler will assume the role of Stokes’s vice-captain.
Root will leave England’s pre-series training camp at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday (July 1) to be with his wife Carrie who is expecting their second child later this week. He will play no part in the three-day intra-squad match which begins tomorrow.
Once Root leaves hospital, he will have to observe a seven day isolation period at home before joining up with the England squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford which begins on Monday July 13.
The confirmation of Buttler as vice-captain looks to have ended the debate about who will wear the wicket-keeping gloves against West Indies. Buttler is the incumbent but both Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow were included in the pre-series training group which is currently training on the south coast.
Foakes was part of England’s squad for the aborted tour to Sri Lanka in March while Bairstow has said recently that he wants to reclaim the gloves after losing them at the start of last winter following a poor Ashes series with the bat.
However, Buttler looks to have seen both of them off for now although he will need to improve his returns with the bat if he is to make the wicket-keeping position his own. He averaged just 17.55 in five Tests this winter.
There are a number of options to cover Root’s position at number four in the batting line-up. A top order of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Denly is perhaps most likely but Bairstow could also play as a specialist batsman.
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