Joe Root will have a willing vice-captain if he decides to replace the absent Ben Stokes with James Anderson for the fast-approaching Ashes series.
Yorkshire’s Root indicated last week that an announcement is imminent on who will fill in as his deputy for Stokes, still at home waiting to hear if he will be charged with causing actual bodily harm after a late-night fracas in Bristol and increasingly unlikely to join England on tour.
Anderson is one of several plausible candidates, including Root’s predecessor as captain Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad – who previously led England’s Twenty20 team.
England’s evergreen, record-breaking seamer has not spent the first week of England’s tour stressing about whether Root will ask him to step up. But asked if he would rule himself out, he said: “Of course not, I wouldn’t.”
At 35, with 506 Test wickets to his name, Anderson is one of the go-to advisers for tactics on the pitch – and it is a responsibility he relishes.
“In the last couple of years, I’ve seen my role in the team as a leader,” he added.
“With young bowlers coming into the team, I’ve tried to help out as much as I can. It’s important Joe has people he can rely upon.”
As for becoming official vice-captain, however, he name-checks Cook and Broad too.
“It’s 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 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.”
With young bowlers coming into the team, I’ve tried to help out as much as I can. It’s important Joe has people he can rely upon.James Anderson
Anderson was speaking on arrival in Adelaide, where England will acquaint themselves with the pink Kookaburra ball in a four-day match against a Cricket Australia XI – their rehearsal for the inaugural day-night Ashes Test at the same venue next month.
He had to work hard for his 4-27 in the drawn two-day fixture against a Western Australia XI which finished on Sunday, but is hoping for more assistance under lights in the second match of England’s campaign.
“We’ve played one pink-ball Test in England but not with a Kookaburra,” he said. “So coming over here and having the chance to practise with that and play in a first-class game is really important for us.”