England will be led by star all-rounder Ben Stokes in the first Test against West Indies starting on July 8 in Southampton, it was confirmed on Tuesday. Joe Root has been granted leave by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
Stokes has never captained a first-class side in his career, but he has been backed by the board and cricket experts to excel in his new role as stand-in captain. Root himself had said he expects Stokes to lead the side from the front like Virat Kohli does for India.
“Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been Root’s Test vice-captain since his appointment last July, will captain the side for the first time in Southampton,” the ECB said in a release.
Jos Buttler has been named vice-captain of the team, a role he also performs under captain Eoin Morgan in limited overs cricket for England.
ECB also added that Root will have to self-isolate himself for seven days once he leaves the hospital with this family. His wife, Carrie, is due to give birth later this week.
“Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves hospital with his family. He will join up with the England squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford on Monday 13 July,” the ECB stated.
Root is expected to be back with the side in time for the second Test which will start on July 16.
This series is a "historic" one as it marks the resumption of international cricket after the forced hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a stop to all cricketing action around the world since mid-March.
(With PTI inputs)