England captain would miss Test for birth of child


England captain Joe Root says he would miss a Test in order to be at the birth of his second child.

The baby is due at the beginning of July, with England’s series against West Indies set to begin on 8 July.

The plan to play matches in a bio-secure environment complicates matters, with restrictions on player movement currently unclear.

“It’s evolving,” said Root. “It’s being discussed with the medical team and we’re trying to stay up to date.”

The 29-year-old, who has not missed a Test since being appointed skipper in 2017, added: “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.”

Root confirmed he will be at the birth regardless of the knock-on cricketing implications, as well as endorsing the leadership credentials of vice-captain Ben Stokes, who would step in if Root is unavailable.

“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.”

Root returned to training on Monday, one of 55 players who have been asked to practise as England prepare for action following the coronavirus shutdown.

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