England have opted to retain James Anderson as their vice-captain instead of handing the role back to Ben Stokes for the upcoming two-Test series in New Zealand.
Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, was named as Joe Root’s deputy for the Ashes in Australia, a series Stokes, the flamboyant allrounder, was suspended from for being involved in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub.
It’s highly unlikely that Stokes, who featured in England’s 3-2 One-Day International series victory over New Zealand, will regain the role of vice-captain anytime soon – at least until the end of his impending court case. Stokes, 26, is also set to miss the second Test of the five-match series against India at Lord’s due to his trial that will begin on August 6(LINK).
Despite England’s 4-0 loss in Australia, Anderson managed to impress Trevor Bayliss, the head coach, and Root during his temporary tenure.
“I’m delighted Joe has asked me to do it again for this series,” Anderson told BBC. “It doesn’t change my role in the team a huge amount. I see myself as a senior player and I’m there for people if they need advice. Certainly, if Joe needs help on the field, I’m there for him.
“It’s a big group effort when we go on the field, so it’s important that we get that right. Again in the dressing-room, it’s trying to get people relaxed and ready to play Test cricket. It’s not just my job; it’s Joe’s, Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad have plenty of experience, and the coaches as well who have been around the block. It’s our job to help out where we can and try to help this team progress.”
Stokes to miss the first warm-up match
Meanwhile, Stokes, who played his last Test against Windies in September 2017, will not feature in the opening two-day warm-up match in Hamilton against New Zealand XI, starting from Wednesday (March 14), due to a minor back injury.
Considering the first match against New Zealand will be a day-night affair in Auckland, Stokes – along with Chris Woakes (hamstring) and Craig Overton (quad) – will miss out on the opportunity of playing with the pink ball that will be used in the first warm-up game.
However, none of the injuries are considered serious and the trio is expected to available for the second warm-up game.