After a lot of ifs and buts, cricket is finally going to resume with England hosting West Indies next month. The three-match series will take place in empty stadiums and at bio-secure venues. However, as things pan out, England Test skipper Joe Root is likely to miss the first Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Root’s wife Carrie, is due to give birth to their second child at the start of July. It is likely to coincide with the first Test match in Southampton starting from July 8, subject to government’s approval. Joe Root has already said that he will be with his wife during that period come what may.
Joe Root likely to miss the first Test
Meanwhile, if England’s Test skipper fails to make the cut, the three lions will get a new skipper in Ben Stokes. The all-rounder has only captained three matches in his career, one for Durham under-17s and two for Durham’s academy, according to the Cricket Archive. He has so far won one, lost one, drawn one.
Although Stokes, one of the hottest properties in the business right now, has not captained his country, he has worked as Joe Root’s deputy. He reclaimed the vice-captain role just before the Ashes 2019 after he returned to squad serving a suspension due to the Bristol incident. Root had earlier praised Ben Stokes’ leadership abilities saying he has already led the team by example with his exemplary performances.
“I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic,” Root said. “One of his great qualities as vice-captain and as a leader is he sets the example, the way he goes about his training, how he wants to bowl in difficult circumstances, the way he stands up in different scenarios with the bat.
“He drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him. I think that’s a great quality to have as a leader and something he can take into captaincy if he was to get the opportunity. I could see him doing a very good job,” he added.
However, the England and Wales Cricket Board will potentially look if leadership won’t be an added pressure for Ben Stokes. The all-rounder plays pivotal roles with the bat, ball and in the field across all three formats for England. Adding the captaincy to his plate too would be some challenge.