Anderson retained as England vice-captain

England have decided to retain James Anderson as vice-captain instead of handing the role back to Ben Stokes for two Tests against New Zealand.

Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 9:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 10:30 am
James Anderson

Evergreen seamer Anderson replaced Stokes for this winter's Ashes, once it became clear the all-rounder would not be available.

Stokes missed the 4-0 defeat to Australia, while he waited to discover if he would be charged over a late-night incident outside a Bristol bar last September.

He rejoined England here in New Zealand only once he had indicated a not guilty plea to affray at Bristol Magistrates Court last month.

Stokes learned on Monday, after a hearing at Bristol Crown Court, that he will face trial in August on a charge of affray alongside two other men, and the next day England announced Anderson will once again be Joe Root's deputy for a two-match campaign which starts in Auckland next week.

Speaking after England's practice session in Hamilton, for two warm-up matches over the next four days, Anderson told BBC Test Match Special: "I'm delighted Joe has asked me to do it again for this series."

As in Australia, England's all-time leading wicket-taker stressed that the extra responsibility will have no major bearing on the way he conducts himself.

"Being a vice-captain doesn't make me behave any differently in the dressing-room or on the field," said Anderson.

"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."

Anderson is the elder statesman of an England attack which he and Stuart Broad have led for much of the past decade.

He added: "I know what my job is for the team - I've got to take wickets with that new ball, create pressure during the middle periods as well, try to take wickets, and help the other bowlers out as well.

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

"Again in the dressing-room, it's trying to get people relaxed and ready to play Test cricket."

He is one of a clutch of senior players who naturally help others feel at ease on the international stage.

"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."

After it emerged that Stokes is set to miss next summer's showpiece Lord's Test against India because of a clash with his trial date, it appears likely Anderson will be re-engaged again as vice-captain once back home.

Asked about that prospect, he said: "I honestly don't mind.

"It's totally down to Joe.

"It's an honour that he's asked me ... (but) I'm not looking further than these two Test matches."