With second child on the way Joe Root set to miss Test action for England this summer | Daily News


Ben Stokes could captain his country for the first time:

With second child on the way Joe Root set to miss Test action for England this summer

Joe Root could be set to miss Test action with England with the arrival of his second child.
Joe Root could be set to miss Test action with England with the arrival of his second child.

Joe Root could miss Test action for England this summer with the news that his wife Carrie is expecting their second child in July.

It is a timeframe that clashes with England's proposed return to international action – one that is set to be held in a bio-secure environment.

If the 29-year-old was to step out of any team bubble and then had to serve a quarantine, Ben Stokes would captain his country for the first time. Stokes regained the vice-captaincy ahead of last summer's Ashes, having been stripped of his deputy status in 2017 following his involvement in an incident outside a Bristol night spot.

Until the government protocol for playing live sport here is known, though, it is hard for the Roots to plan for the new arrival and they are therefore privately preparing themselves for 'every scenario'.

And it doesn't just involve the cricket side of the equation. Root is known to want to be present but one of the issues the couple have discussed is whether or not the hospital would allow it. A lot will depend on the coronavirus climate in the UK in eight weeks' time.

England's Test squad are understood to be happy to stay in the hotels on site at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Emirates Old Trafford for several weeks at a time to get matches played, and accept the need for regular COVID-19 testing, but have flagged up concerns about what happens to players with pregnant partners. Chris Woakes' wife Amie is also expecting.

'If it was a possibility, could I get to the birth? Would I then be in isolation for two weeks? Would I be able to be tested? Who knows exactly how that would look? We have to make sure there is no chance of anyone getting ill,' Root said on Sky Sports.

'It will be a challenge and other guys involved will have similar problems. The wellbeing of players and staff will be factored into any schedules that are made. 'Whether scheduling allows getting the players in and out of the bubble safely so they can see family we will have to wait and see. I suppose we have to be flexible and move with what's happening.'

Mark Wood, the England fast bowler who has produced the best form of his career over the last year or so in both red and white-ball cricket, says the players have 'asked good questions' about the safety of returning in July and have been given 'good answers'.

'Everybody in the squad, as long as the conditions are right, would be willing to come back and play some cricket,' said Wood on an ECB conference call. 'We're desperate to get going. I know it would be a long stint and it would be hard but it would be good to get back out there.'

The plan, which was put to the players by team director Ashley Giles and ECB head of medicine Nick Peirce, would see an enlarged England squad, possibly as big as 30 players, gathering at the Ageas Bowl towards the end of June for practice and a warm-up game between the squad before the first Test.

Then the group, with management, back-up staff, officials and broadcasters, would move on to Manchester for the last two Tests before the first Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford and the last two at the Ageas Bowl. A three-match one-day series against Ireland would be squeezed in between the two, with all three games at Old Trafford.

'We had a chat with Ashley Giles and Nick Peirce around what the schedule could look like but it's very much early days, with the government deciding what's going to happen,' said Wood. 'As long as the environment, everyone else there, and my family are safe then I'd be willing to do it.'

'It's similar to travelling to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka this year. You get advice off the head of security and now we're getting advice off the doctor and we are putting our faith in him. We've asked good questions in the meetings we've had so far and we're getting good answers.'

– Daily Mail


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