James Anderson has been named England vice-captain ahead of the Ashes 2017-18 in Australia, it was announced on Friday (November 10).
The right-arm swing bowler had earlier expressed interest in filling in for Stokes, the regular vice-captain. The allrounder was suspended following a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub on September 25, when he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm. Though Stokes hasn’t yet been withdrawn from the Ashes squad, he didn’t travel with the team due to the ongoing police investigation.
Alastair Cook, Root’s predecessor as captain, and Stuart Broad, who led the side in Twenty20 Internationals between 2011 and 2014, were touted as the other possible contenders to take over as vice-captain, but Anderson was preferred.
The 35-year-old, who has 506 wickets in 129 Tests, has toured Australia thrice in the past and brings in a wealth of experience.
Anderson had made it clear that he wouldn’t decline an offer to become Joe Root’s deputy. “In the last couple of years, I’ve seen my role in the team as a leader,” he said. “With young bowlers coming into the team, I’ve tried to help out as much as I can … I think it’s important Joe has people he can rely upon.
“It’s not something I’ve thought about. My responsibility as a senior player is to bring experience to the group. Myself, Alastair and Stuart Broad all (do that).
“There are a lot of players on this tour who have not played in an Ashes series before, and not toured Australia before. So our job is to try and help as much as we can. That’s part and parcel of our job as senior players, having played over 100 Tests. It’s kind of your responsibility to be a leader.”
Root had earlier stated that having a new vice-captain was a non-issue. “I don’t think it makes a massive difference to me on the field,” he suggested. “I have some senior players around me who have been fantastic throughout the summer.
“It is a side that is always wanting to help each other out, which is a great environment to work in. Players are thinking about the game, looking to drive it forward themselves and take responsibility. It is a joy to captain them.”
The first Ashes Test starts in Brisbane on November 23.