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Joe Root to miss first West Indies Test; Ben Stokes to captain England

England have confirmed Test captain Joe Root will miss the series opener against West Indies to attend the birth of his second child.

Root has been based at the Ageas Bowl with the rest of England’s 30-man training group ahead of the first Test against Windies which starts at that same venue on July 8.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Tuesday that Root would leave the group on Wednesday to be with his wife, Carrie, who is expecting their second child.

Root, 29, will therefore miss England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match which begins on Wednesday and the first Test against West Indies.

In Root’s absence, vice-captain Ben Stokes will captain his country for the first time.

Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he and his family leave hospital and rejoin his England team-mates ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford on July 13.

The ECB have also confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler will play in the series opener despite speculation over his place in the side and act as Stokes’ vice-captain.

Earlier this week, Stokes insisted he would not alter his style of play if he was confirmed as England captain for the first Test of the summer.

‘I hope that I always try to set the example in terms of attitude and commitment,’ the 29-year-old said.

‘If I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things. In terms of how I want to influence the game, I try to have a positive effect with the ball or bat in my hand.

‘No matter what I do in terms of choosing what to do in a situation, it will always be the positive route.’

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Joe Root warns England about 'formidable' West Indies pace attack

England captain Joe Root has warned his side about West Indies’ ‘formidable’ pace attack ahead of the upcoming three-match Test series.

Root’s side will play three behind-closed-doors Test matches against the Windies, beginning at The Ageas Bowl on July 8.

In the most recent Test series between the two teams, West Indies triumphed 2-1 in the Caribbean at the start of 2019, and Root expects his side to be tested once again over the next month.

‘We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series,’ Root told BBC Sport.

‘One thing that stood out was how formidable their bowling attack can be. It is really important we prepare well and we are ready for all of that.’

Leading West Indies’ pace attack will be the experienced Kemar Roach, while captain Jason Holder and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel will bolster the tourists’ resources with the ball.

Holder, the leading run-scorer on either side last year, is the number one all-rounder in Test cricket, ahead of England’s Ben Stokes.

Root added: ‘Jase is one of the most well-respected guys in international cricket.

‘He took the job at a young age and we are starting to see him at the peak of his career.

‘He comes across as a very good bloke. I am looking forward to chatting to him from a social distance.’

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