England’s leading Test wicket-taker, James Anderson, has been named as Ben Stokes’ replacement as vice-captain for the upcoming Ashes series.
Anderson, who has 506 wickets in 129 Tests, expressed an interest in the role earlier this week, and has seen off competition from Alastair Cook, the former captain, and Stuart Broad as Joe Root’s second-in-command. This is Anderson’s fourth Test tour of Australia, so he brings vast experience to the job.
Meanwhile, the seam bowler Jake Ball will undergo a scan on his right ankle, which buckled in his delivery stride on the second day of England’s tour match against a Cricket Australia XI at Adelaide Oval. The ankle is sprained and Ball, who left the ground on crutches on Thursday evening, is unlikely to play a further part in the game.
With the first Test 13 days away and just 14 fully fit players (Tom Curran has arrived in Adelaide to replace Steven Finn, another injured bowler), England can ill-afford for Ball’s problem to be serious. They are already missing Finn, Stokes, Mark Wood (heel) and Toby Roland-Jones (back), and their fast-bowling stocks are being stretched.
Moeen Ali is making good progress as he returns from a side injury. He is batting comfortably in the nets and is on course to play the final tour match before the first Test, a four-day match in Townsville from Wednesday.