Joe Root could miss Test action for England this summer with the news that his wife Carrie is expecting their second child in July.
It is a timeframe that clashes with England’s proposed return to international action – one that is set to be held in a bio-secure environment.
If the 29-year-old was to step out of any team bubble and then had to serve a quarantine, Ben Stokes would captain his country for the first time. Stokes regained the vice-captaincy ahead of last summer’s Ashes, having been stripped of his deputy status in 2017 following his involvement in an incident outside a Bristol night spot.
Joe Root could be set to miss Test action with England with the arrival of his second child
Until the government protocol for playing live sport here is known, though, it is hard for the Roots to plan for the new arrival and they are therefore privately preparing themselves for ‘every scenario’.
And it doesn’t just involve the cricket side of the equation. Root is known to want to be present but one of the issues the couple have discussed is whether or not the hospital would allow it. A lot will depend on the coronavirus climate in the UK in eight weeks’ time.
England’s Test squad are understood to be happy to stay in the hotels on site at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Emirates Old Trafford for several weeks at a time to get matches played, and accept the need for regular Covid-19 testing, but have flagged up concerns about what happens to players with pregnant partners. Chris Woakes’ wife Amie is also expecting.
‘If it was a possibility, could I get to the birth? Would I then be in isolation for two weeks? Would I be able to be tested? Who knows exactly how that would look? We have to make sure there is no chance of anyone getting ill,’ Root said on Sky Sports.
‘It will be a challenge and other guys involved will have similar problems. The wellbeing of players and staff will be factored into any schedules that are made.
Ben Stokes would captain his country for the first time if Root had to step away from the action
‘Whether scheduling allows getting the players in and out of the bubble safely so they can see family we will have to wait and see. I suppose we have to be flexible and move with what’s happening.’
When cricket does resume it is bound to look different - there will be no crowd for a start - although Root insists it has to remain authentic, and should not have restrictions on issues like field placings as a result.
‘If the game is compromised, it shouldn’t be going ahead,’ Root added.
‘The game itself, the intensity is it played at - if you can’t play Test cricket at its absolute best we shouldn’t play it. It’s not a fair reflection.
‘I’d like the think the product itself and the standard of Test cricket would not be compromised to play these games.
‘I am very optimistic. It would be a real shame if not as a number of people are desperate to see live sport back on the telly.
‘One thing made very clear by the ECB to the players, coaching staff and everyone involved is that the safety of everyone is at the front of it all.
‘Teams also have to be willing to come here and play - there are so many moving parts.’