With England versus West Indies Test series being the first match after a long break due to the current pandemic outburst, it will be Ben Stokes to lead the Englishmen in the first Test. Joe Root, the on-paper captain will be taking a backseat to be with his wife while she gives birth to their child. Jos Butler will step into Stokes’ shoes and act as a vice-captain.
Root will leave England’s pre-series training camp at Ageas Bowl on Wednesday (July 1) to be with his wife Carrie who is expecting their second child later this week. He won’t be a part of the three-day intra-squad match which begins tomorrow.
Once Root leaves the hospital, he will have to observe a seven day quarantine before joining the team to ensure he has no symptoms of Covid-19. The second Test begins on July 13 at Emirates Old Trafford.
Having Jos Butler as the vice-captain, the question now arises that who will wear the wicket-keeper’s gloves against West Indies. While Butler is a compelling choice for the position, with Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow were included in England’s practice sessions.
Foakes was all set to be a part of England’s squad for the called-off tour to Sri-Lanka in March due to the pandemic while Bairstow had expressed his wish to reclaim the gloves after losing them to a poor performance in the Ashes last winter.
However, after seeing both of them wicket-keeping, Butler still wants to be the one standing behind the stumps. But for that to happen, he needs to improve his returns with the bat. he just averaged 17.55 in five Tests this winter.
There are a couple 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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