The Ashes: Root close to making call on his new Test deputy

England's captain Joe Root, right, talks to Stuart Broad, left, and James Anderson.. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Joe Root will have a new tour deputy in place as his vice-captain in time for the first Ashes Test.

Further discussions will take place before Root and coach Trevor Bayliss agree on the identity of the man who seems increasingly certain to have to step into one of the pivotal roles which was initially to be filled by Ben Stokes.

The match-winning all-rounder remains official vice-captain, but his prospects of joining his team-mates at any point in a series which begins on November 23 in Brisbane and ends on January 8 in Sydney are growing slimmer by the day.

Stokes remains at home in England still waiting to hear whether Avon & Somerset Police decide to charge him after his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in Bristol on September 25 and then release under investigation.

As England prepare for their first warm-up match this weekend – in which Steven Finn and Moeen Ali will play no part as they await scans on respective knee and side injuries – Root confirmed a tour vice-captain will soon be named.

“Over the next few days, myself and Trevor and the management will come up with it, and it will be sorted by the first Test,” said the Yorkshireman.

Root does not see it as a critical role, however, for a team which has its share of experience – albeit with several less-seasoned or established internationals sprinkled through it too.

“I don’t think it makes a massive difference to me on the field,” Root added, as he nears his maiden Ashes series in charge.

“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.

England's Joe Root (left) and Ben Stokes pictured at Headingley against West Indies earlier this year. Picture: Nigel French/PA

“Players are thinking about the game, looking to drive it forward themselves and take responsibility. It is a joy to captain.”

Root has spelled out too that, although England’s first fixture is non first-class over just two days against a second-string Western Australia, he wants to set the tone with a dominant display.

“We want to be as ruthless as we can and start the tour as we mean to go on,” he said.

“Obviously, we want to give guys opportunities when those chances arise – but not at the expense of losing and not being at our best.

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.

Yorkshire and England’s Joe Root

“We’ll have the attitude to trying to win the game, even though it is a two-dayer.”

It is difficult to gauge the likely standard of opposition at the WACA, with the first team in Sheffield Shield action in Sydney.

But Root added: “I think it is irrelevant – you can only play what is put up against you.

“We can only measure ourselves on how we do in those fixtures and how well we go about our business ... trying to win and getting into the habit of winning early in the tour.

“So when the Tests come round we have belief from what we have done in the warm-up games.”

Everyone, he insists, will start with a point to prove.

“These three games are opportunities,” said Root.

“If you feel like you are settled in the side, you need to make sure you are proved in your position. If you are someone coming into the squad, this is a chance to put your name forward for that first Test.

“Guys must stand up and take their chances. Everyone is excited – you can see there is a desire and hunger.

“They are really up for the challenge of this tour.”

Sussex coach Jon Lewis will work with England Lions this winter, replacing Chris Silverwood.

The former Yorkshire player Silverwood has been named as the senior side’s new fast bowling coach, leaving a vacancy with the Lions squad which travels to Australia later this month.

Lewis, assistant head coach at Hove, will assume the role of overseeing the likes of Mark Wood, George Garton and Tom Helm in a travelling group which effectively doubles as a shadow for Trevor Bayliss’s Ashes party.

The 42-year-old, who played one Test and 13 ODIs for his country, will stay in Australia to join the backroom staff at Big Bash franchise Perth Scorchers before reconnecting with the Lions during their West Indies tour in January.

“I am extremely excited about the prospect of coaching the Lion,” he said. “I will be working with two world-class head coaches in Andy Flower and Justin Langer, and assisting with the coaching of some of the most talented cricketers in the world.”

Lions head coach Flower added: “We are delighted to have an outstanding replacement in Jon Lewis – and we are very grateful to Keith Greenfield and Rob Andrew at Sussex for being so flexible in allowing Jon to join us now.”

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