LONDON Joe Root will not be a worry for West Indies in next week’s first Test at Southampton after the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Tuesday the England captain will miss the game due to the birth of his second child.
The 29-year-old, who has led England in 39 of his 92 Tests, will leave England’s training camp at Southampton today to be with his wife Carrie who is scheduled to give birth later this week.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who has served as Root’s vice-captain for the last year, will lead England for the first time.
“Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he leaves hospital with his family,” the ECB said in a statement.
“He will join up with the England squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford on Monday 13 July.”
Root will also miss the three-day ‘inter-squad’ warm-up match starting Wednesday.
England coach Chris Silverwood said he expected Stokes to do a “great job” leading the unit.
“He’s conscious of the people around him, so I think he’ll do a great job in Rooty’s absence,” said Silverwood.
“It will be interesting to see what he does, because obviously it is his first time captaining England. We know he has got an aggressive nature, but equally there is a good cricket brain in there as well.
“He will have a lot of say in what is going on and he will play a big part in giving his opinions across the selection as well.”
The series is being played in a “bio-secure” environment triggered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has already resulted in 313 000 infections and nearly 44 000 deaths in the United Kingdom.
Players are being isolated from the public for the duration of the three-Test series at facilities in Southampton and Old Trafford, and will play each Test behind closed doors.
West Indies coach Phil Simmons broke the isolation to attend a funeral last Friday and has been forced to self-isolate until Wednesday, under protocols governing the series.