Veteran paceman James Anderson has been named England’s vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series.
The 35-year-old replaces star allrounder Ben Stokes, who is under a provisional suspension after being part of a brawl in Bristol, which is being investigated by police. Anderson, in his fourth tour of Australia, got the nod over former captain Alastair Cook and veteran quick Stuart Broad, who previously led England’s Twenty20 team.
Earlier in the week, Anderson said he was a team leader regardless of official rank. “It’s (the vice-captaincy) not something I’ve thought about,” he said. “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.”
The appointment of Anderson should help add some stability for a reeling England, who have suffered an injury scourge to start their Ashes tour. In their latest setback, Jake Ball, the talented seamer, injured his right ankle in his delivery stride on day two of England’s tour match against the Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide.
Ball will undergo a scan and is unlikely to play any further part in the four-day match. England’s pace stocks had already been tested with the experienced Steven Finn ruled out of the tour earlier this week after suffering torn cartilage in his left knee.
Moeen Ali, the key allrounder, has not played on tour as he recovers from a side strain but is expected to be fit for England’s final practice match in Townsville starting on November 15.