- Bowler Jimmy Anderson will continue as England’s No 2 against New Zealand
- Previous vice-captain Ben Stokes has returned to the England fold this month
- However, he will not take up his former role due to his impending court date
Jimmy Anderson will carry on as England vice-captain while Ben Stokes has the cloud of a court case hanging over him.
Anderson, as revealed by Sportsmail last Saturday, will be Joe Root’s deputy for at least the two Tests against New Zealand in the next two weeks that complete this tour even though erstwhile No2 Stokes has now returned.
England’s greatest-ever bowler was made vice-captain for the Ashes while Stokes was suspended and England were left with a decision to make as soon as they decided to reinstate the all-rounder while awaiting his trial for affray.
Jimmy Anderson will continue as vice-captain for England for their Test series in New Zealand
But Root and coach Trevor Bayliss have decided to stick with Anderson, at least for now, so there was no need for them to involve England team director Andrew Strauss or ECB chief executive Tom Harrison in their discussions.
Anderson impressed Bayliss during the Ashes by getting more involved in team decisions than he has done as a senior player and the Australian had no hesitation in asking him to carry on now.
There was also the feeling that it would not be a good look for England if Root had been injured during the Tests in Auckland and Christchurch and Stokes would have had to lead his country while facing criminal charges.
‘It doesn’t change my role in the team a huge amount,’ insisted Anderson. ‘I see myself as a senior player and I’m there for people if they need advice. I’m delighted Joe has asked me to do it again for this series but being a vice-captain doesn’t make me behave any differently in the dressing room or on the field.
Ben Stokes has returned to the England team but will not take up his former role as No 2
A crown court hearing in Bristol on Monday heard Stokes plead not guilty to affray by video link from the team hotel here and his trial was set for August 6th and expected to last five to seven days which clashes with the biggest match of the summer, the Lord’s Test against India. But Stokes still hopes to play in the first Test at Edgbaston that is due to finish in Birmingham the night before his trial begins.
It would remain sensible for England to avoid giving their star all-rounder any additional responsibility while knowing he will be otherwise engaged with the case later this summer, meaning Anderson will carry on as deputy for now.
‘It’s a big group effort when we go on the field so it’s important we get that right,’ added Anderson. ‘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 too who have been round the block. I honestly don’t know if I’ll do it any longer than these two matches. That’s up to Joe.’
Stokes has a trial date of August 6 set at Bristol Crown Court for a charge of affray
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