Ben Stokes set to captain England for first Test against West Indies with Joe Root expected to miss match

Ben Stokes is likely to captain England for their first Test against the West Indies next week.

Joe Root is Test match skipper for England but is expected to leave the team base in Southampton ahead of the birth of his second child.

Handout – Getty

Ben Stokes looks set to captain England against the West Indies next week

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are strict controls ahead of the match, which starts next Wednesday at the Ageas Bowl.

Once Root leaves to attend the birth of his child he will have to self-isolate for seven days before being allowed to return.

The 29-year-old is likely to be available for the second Test match the following week at Old Trafford.

It will be the first time Stokes has captained his country, being promoted from his current role as England vice-captain for the Test.

Joe Root is awaiting the birth of his second child and will likely miss the first Test

Getty Images – Getty

Joe Root is awaiting the birth of his second child and will likely miss the first Test

He was stripped of the vice-captaincy following a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017, for which he was found not guilty of affray in August 2018.

When asked about Stokes being captain, teammate Stuart Broad said: “He has got a really good cricket brain, and has grown and matured incredibly over the last three or four years.

“To come in and captain one game, I think he’ll find that very easy.

“He’s taking over Rooty’s team to make on-field decisions, so I don’t think he’ll struggle in any aspects.

“One thing we have to do is to make sure he uses his own ability as well.”

If Root does indeed miss the first Test against the West Indies then it will open up a place at number four in the England batting order.

Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Rory Burns and Joe Denly are fighting for the top three places but all four could be selected.

The alternative options include promoting Ollie Pope to four or bringing in the more experienced Jonny Bairstow, who lost his place in the side follow his poor performances during the 2019 Ashes series.

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