New Zealand v England Tests

Stokes dumped as England vice-captain

Allrounder set to make Test return against NZ, but Anderson preferred as Root's deputy

Cricket Network

13 March 2018, 05:47 PM

Ben Stokes will not return to Test cricket in the vice-captaincy role that had become his under skipper Joe Root, with the controversial allrounder overlooked in favour of veteran quick James Anderson.

With England playing the first of a two-Test series against New Zealand from next Thursday in Auckland, Stokes is set to play his first match in the format since he was allegedly involved in a fight outside a nightclub in Bristol last September.

Anderson was last week praised for his performance as vice-captain during England's Ashes defeat by coach Trevor Bayliss, and the 35-year-old remains the man deemed best placed to step into Root's shoes should injury or illness befall the captain.

"I'm delighted Joe has asked me to do it again for this series," Anderson told the BBC. "It doesn't change my role in the team a huge amount.

"I see myself as a senior player and I'm there for people if they need advice. Certainly if Joe needs help on the field, I'm there for him."

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Stokes took his first steps back in England colours in an ODI in New Zealand last month, and went on to play all five matches in the series against the Black Caps.

The England allrounder was made unavailable for the Ashes following the controversy, in which footage emerged of a man alleged to be Stokes repeatedly punching another man.

Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to affray via video link from New Zealand, meaning the matter will instead be tried by a jury at a court case beginning on August 6 in Bristol Crown Court.

Given the trial is expected to last between five and seven days, Stokes will miss the second Test against India at Lord's.

Anderson, who has played 134 Tests – the most by any fast bowler in history – believes it is naturally the role of an experienced player to support his captain.

"It's a big group effort when we go on the field, so it's important that we get that right," he said.

"It's not just my job; it's Joe's, Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad have plenty of experience, and the coaches as well who have been around the block.

"It's our job to help out where we can and try to help this team progress."