JOE ROOT has revealed he could miss this summer’s First Test – but says Ben Stokes would be a “fantastic” replacement captain.
Root’s wife Carrie is due to give birth to their second child in early July and he will attend even if he is not allowed to re-enter the ground for some days.
Medics and match organisers are still deciding if and when anybody leaving the ‘bio secure’ bubble created at grounds can return.
It came as the ECB confirmed dates for the three-Test series against West Indies
The First Test will be at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on July 8 followed by two Tests at Emirates Old Trafford on July 16 and 24.
Root said: “The due date is the start of July, so that complicates things slightly. In terms of the bubble, and the pregnancy, it’s an evolving thing. It’s being discussed with the medical team.”
When asked if he will be at the birth regardless, Root replied: “Yes.”
All-rounder Stokes is England’s official Test vice-captain and would step up if Root is absent.
Many believed Stokes would never lead his country after his involvement in a street fight in Bristol in September 2017. He was cleared of affray.
Root, who started outdoor training at Trent Bridge on Monday with a batting session with former England coach Peter Moores, added: “I think if Ben was captain he would be fantastic.
“One of his great qualities as vice-captain and as a leader is the example he sets in the way he goes about training, how he wants to bowl in difficult circumstances and the way he stands up with the bat.
“He drags people with him and gets the best out of the players around him. I think 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.”
The likes of Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff were legendary all-rounders but struggled as captains.
Root insisted: “People will always look up to Ben and want to play for him, whether captain or not. But, especially as captain, he’ll have people wanting to play for him and short-term he’d be a huge success.
“Until you get the opportunity to do it longer, you never know. But he might be a huge success, I wouldn’t put it past him.
“Throughout his career, he’s always responded well and Test captaincy is more added responsibility.
“Over time, it does take a lot out of you but he’s a very impressive player and man in our dressing-room. I’d never say Ben Stokes can’t do anything, he’s pretty much proved that he can.”