Joe Root to miss the first Test against West Indies, Ben Stokes to lead in his absence

Joe Root to miss the first Test against West Indies, Ben Stokes to lead in his absence

After missing the first Test, the England skipper is expected to join back the squad for the final two Tests.

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England captain Joe Root and Ben Stokes in discussion. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

To set the ball rolling amid COVID-19 debacle, England and West Indies are set to brace the field in a three-match Test series starting from July 8 at the Ageas Bowl. With the first match at the Ageas Bowl and the remaining two at the Old Trafford in Manchester, both the sides will script history by playing the first-ever series in the post-coronavirus world.

The series is expected to be one-of-a-kind due to the playing conditions. All the matches will be played without spectators and the players will be living in a biosecure environment during the course of the series. The Three Lions had recently announced 30-member training squad for the series comprising stalwarts like Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer.

However, amongst all the prominent names, skipper Joe Root won’t be bracing the field in the first Test. The England captain will leave the training camp at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday to be with his wife Carrie, who is expecting the couple’s second child later this week.

Along with the first Test, Root will also miss England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match on Wednesday. 29-year-old Root’s absence was widely expected due to the expected birth of his second child. Root’s unavailability was also confirmed by the ICC on Twitter.

Jos Buttler will serve as the vice-captain in the first Test

In Root’s absence, vice-captain Ben Stokes will be at the helm for the first time in the first Test. Jos Buttler will serve as his deputy in the opening match.

Following the health protocols, Root will begin a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves the hospital with his family. After missing the first Test, the England skipper is expected to join back the squad for the final two Tests. Manchester is slated to host the second and third Test of the series.

Upon his appointment as the skipper, Stokes expressed his feeling and said that it’s a huge honour to lead the side. “I’m not one of those people that people would necessarily associate as being the next England captain,” said Stokes as quoted by Hindustan Times.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity. But being a captain has never been a real goal, it’s just about winning. It’s a huge honour to think about. At the same time, I know I’m only stepping in to take over for one game because of Joe’s personal situation,” he added