England captain Joe Root will miss the first Test against the West Indies next week to be with his wife Carrie, who is expecting a baby this week.
Vice-captain Ben Stokes will lead England for the first time while Jos Buttler will be the all-rounder’s deputy.
Stokes was waiting for this opportunity since Monday (June 29) when he said what a huge honour it would be to lead England once in his career.
“I’ve given it a little thought but not really dived into it yet.
“I mean, it’s not like it’s not a big deal. Getting the opportunity to captain England is a huge honour. Even if it’s only the once, you can say you captained England.
“So it’s something that I’m looking forward to if the opportunity presents itself. But also I know I’m only stepping in to take over the reins because of Joe’s personal situation,” Stokes said during a virtual news conference.
Since there are the strict protocols in place to ensure that the series takes place in a ‘bio-secure’ environment, Root will need to be isolated from the English camp for at least a week after his return from the hospital.
A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) read: “England Test captain Joe Root will leave the training camp at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday afternoon to be with his wife, Carrie, who is expecting their second child later this week.
“He will miss England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match starting tomorrow and the #raisethebat first Test against West Indies commencing on Wednesday 8 July at the Ageas Bowl.
“Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves the 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.
“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. Lancashire’s Jos Buttler will assume vice-captaincy duties.”