Joe Root could miss first Windies Test for birth of child, Stokes likely to lead

Joe Root’s wife Carrie is due to give birth to their second child at the start of July and the first Test in Southampton is scheduled to begin on July 8.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes

Joe Root: “If Ben (Stokes) was captain, he would be fantastic!”   -  Getty Images

England Test captain Joe Root is likely to miss the first Test of the three-match series against the West Indies next month.

Root’s wife Carrie is due to give birth to their second child at the start of July and the first Test in Southampton is scheduled to begin on July 8.

“It’s evolving,” Root was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “It’s being discussed with the medical team and we’re trying to stay up to date.”

“At the minute, it’s still open for discussion. How that will finally look, I’m not exactly sure. It will have to come down to government advice, whatever that is. We’ll follow those protocols and do whatever is right,” he added.

The 29-year-old, who has not missed a Test since being appointed skipper in 2017, confirmed he will be at the birth regardless of the knock-on cricketing implications and also endorsed Ben Stokes to lead the side, who would have to step in he is unavailable.

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“If Ben was captain, he would be fantastic,” said Root.

“One of his great qualities as vice-captain 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.

“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.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday said that England will play three Tests against the West Indies beginning July 8, subject to the UK government clearance to return behind closed doors. The first Test will be played at the Ageas Bowl, followed by two Tests at Old Trafford on July 16 and July 24.

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