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Stokes not guaranteed to captain in Root’s absence

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Harvey Burgess

Andrew Strauss, England’s director of cricket, has claimed that Ben Stokes, the new vice-captain, will not necessarily take over the captaincy if Joe Root were forced to miss a game.

The new captain and vice-captain were appointed on Monday following Alastair Cook’s resignation last week, and Root will take charge of the side for the first time when England face South Africa in July.

Strauss insisted that Stokes was “the perfect man” to be deputy to Root, but added that he wasn’t necessarily the guaranteed captain if the Yorkshireman were unavailable.

“Ben Stokes is far and away the best candidate to do that,” Strauss said. “He’s developing fantastically quickly. So as second in charge, he’s the perfect man for that role at the moment.”

The former England captain added: “But just as when Joe was made vice-captain, that doesn’t necessarily mean Ben is going to be a shoo-in to be England captain at some stage in the future.

“I don’t think it would be right for me to say that, in absolutely every circumstance, Ben would definitely take over from Joe.”

Root, who has captained four first-class games for his county and was infamously named “craptain” by his team mates after Middlesex chased down a target of over 400 runs while he led the side, has claimed he will seek the advice of former captains.

Stokes, the Durham all-rounder, has even less experience as captain, having never been in charge of any match for his county.

It has been suggested that Stokes will be given the opportunity to captain the side during certain tour matches in order to gain experience.

“It’s not an easy thing to give people leadership experience when they’re in the England team 12 months of the year,” Strauss said.

“So of course, we’ll look for opportunities to be able to do that,” he concluded. “And I do think that, by and large, there’s no reason why he can’t take over. That’s certainly the intention.”

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