Moeen Ali has been named England’s new vice-captain, with Jos Buttler missing the fourth Test against India to attend the birth of his second child
Now, with Buttler missing the fourth Test and likely to also miss the fifth, Ali has been named as his replacement.
Ali has captained England before, standing in for Eoin Morgan in a T20I clash against Australia last year, and he has also led Worcestershire in the T20 Blast and Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred.
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When asked about Ali’s appointment, Root said: “Moeen is a natural leader. He is someone the team gravitates towards for a number of reasons but one of them is the way he understands the game.
“You saw the conversations him and Jimmy [Anderson] were having in the last game at crucial points.
“He has a brilliant cricketing brain and has done wonderfully well [as captain] in domestic cricket and for England in the shorter formats.
“I am really excited for him and I think he is absolutely the right man for the role. It is thoroughly deserved with how he goes about the game and what he offers to the team.
“He seemed pretty excited and I am sure he will be looking forward to getting the DRS signal out when I am off the field at some point!”
With Buttler dropping out of the squad, Jonny Bairstow is set to keep wicket at The Oval, with Sam Billings added to the squad as cover.
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Chris Woakes has also been called up after recovering from a heel problem and Root is delighted to have the all-rounder back in contention.
“The last year or so has been an absolute nightmare for Woakesy,” he said. “Whether it’s Covid that’s kept him out, or a freak injury coming down the stairs, it feels like he’s not played a huge amount of cricket.
“But when he has played he’s been as good as he ever has been. The white-ball stuff that’s he played this year has been exceptional, getting it to move all over the place.
“He was our best player last summer. To have him back around things is great, and it can only put us in a really strong position going into this game.”