England skipper Joe Root is set to miss the opening Test against West Indies next week to attend the birth of his second child, BBC reported on Monday. All-rounder Ben Stokes could lead the team for the first time in Root’s absence.

The Test series, which will be played in bio-secure venues, will mark the resumption of cricket after a three-month long coronavirus hiatus.

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The first game of the three-Test series begins at the Aegeas Bowl in Southampton from July 8 and Root’s wife is due around the same time.

Earlier, Root had thrown his weight behind the all-rounder for being the interim captain, describing him as a “leader”.

Root is also a doubtful starter for the second Test as the skipper will be required to undergo seven days of self-isolation before joining the team.

Last week, England and Wales Cricket Board’s director of cricket Ashley Giles had said the board hopes to allow players to leave and re-enter the team “bubble” during the series, including Root.