Ben Stokes is set to make his captaincy debut when England play West Indies in the first of a three-Test series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Regular England captain Joe Root is expected to miss the first Test, which starts on July 8, due to the birth of his second child and with COVID-19 protocols stating that Root has to self-isolate at home for at least seven days, post his last visit to the hospital, before he is allowed to rejoin the team, the England captain could be out of contention for the opening Test. Root is expected to leave the team base in Southampton later this week. West Indies Cricket Team to Wear Black Live Matter Logo on Shirts During 2020 England Test Series.

According to reports, Root’s wife Carrie is due to give birth to their second child later this week for which Root will be leaving the team prior to start of the Test series and is only expected to join the team back for the second Test, starting July 16, at Old Trafford Stadium. England vs West Indies Test Series 2020, Key Players: Ben Stokes, Alzarri Joseph, Jofra Archer and Other Cricketers to Watch Out for.

Root’s unavailability will also end a run of 77 consecutive Test matches since his return to the team in 2014. Only Alastair Cook (159) has a better record for the England national team. It also means Stokes, who has no prior captaincy experience other than in Durham academy, will be leading the side out for the opening Test match.

England pacer Stuart Broad, however, believes that inexperience wouldn’t be a matter for Stokes. “I’ve no doubt he will be brilliant at captaining England for this one-off Test match — or two Test matches,” Broad was quoted as saying by The Sun. “Stokesy just has a really good cricket brain. He’s someone who’s matured incredibly over the last three or four years.”

Stokes enjoyed a great summer last year and was England's World Cup and Ashes hero in a space of months. But he has never captained a senior side in international or first-class cricket. “I don’t think there will be much stress or pressure on him,” Broad said. “To come in and captain one game, he’ll find that very easy. He’s taking over Rooty’s team to make on-field decisions, so I don’t think he’ll struggle.”

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 29, 2020 09:42 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website