Cricket: Anderson retained as England vice-captain for New Zealand Tests



James Anderson has retained the England vice-captaincy ahead of Ben Stokes for the two Test series against New Zealand, it was confirmed on Tuesday (March 13). Stokes had been appointed as vice-captain at the start of last year but Anderson filled the role during the recent Ashes series defeat with Stokes unavailable.

Stokes has now returned to England duty after an alleged incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September which caused him to miss the trip to Australia but it has been decided not to burden him with the extra leadership responsibility at present. Last week, Head Coach Trevor Bayliss praised Anderson's impact in the Ashes and so it makes sense that he continues the job for the Tests in Auckland and Christchurch.

It remains to be seen whether Stokes regains the role of vice-captain at some point in the future although that is unlikely to happen until at least the end of his impending court case. That will begin on August 6 and is expected to last between five and seven days which means Stokes will miss the second Test against India at Lord's. Once that is over, a long-term decision can then be taken.

"I'm delighted Joe has asked me to do it again for this series," Anderson told the BBC. "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.

"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. 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."

England will be looking to achieve a consolation win in New Zealand to finish their winter's work after losing the Ashes. They have won just one of their last eight away Test series but Anderson is convinced they are a better team than the scoreline Down Under suggested. "I don't think we were far away," he said.

"I know the scoreline says 4-0, and it looks like we got thrashed. But in each Test match I don't think we were that far away. We got ourselves into games at certain times, and it was a bad half-hour or an hour here and there that really cost us the games we lost. I think that's the learning curve for us."