James Vince has backed Joe Root to continue as England Test captain, but has also said that he would accept the role if offered it.
Vince has been suggested by some pundits as a potential successor to Root as England skipper, with the incumbent coming under pressure due to England’s poor form, having won just one of their last 17 Tests. While Vince is not an England regular, there are few potential challengers in the current set-up – arguably, only Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, alongside Root, are guaranteed their places for the first Test of the summer – and some have suggested a captain should be plucked from county cricket.
Vince, captain of a Hampshire side which has been among the country’s best in recent years, is one of several, alongside Kent’s Sam Billings, Warwickshire’s Will Rhodes, and Somerset’s Tom Abell touted as potential Test captains. However, he cooled speculation that he could take charge.
“Of course [I would take it], if it did come up, but I know people are speculating and there are lots of ideas at the minute,” Vince told The Cricketer. “For them to bring someone in who isn’t even in the squad or playing and then make him captain – I think that would be extremely out there.
“It’s not something I anticipate happening and Rooty obviously has said that he wants to do it and try and take the team forward. I don’t think there’s an obvious alternative. If he’s still happy to do it then I feel he’s still the right man for the job. It has not taken away from his own performances with the bat, if it had it might be a different story but if he wants to do it and he’s doing well with the bat then that seems a reasonably good option to carry on.”
Vince last played Test cricket in 2018, averaging 24.90 from 13 Tests with a high score of 83. His inconsistent returns have been a source of frustration for England fans, but with a new head coach and managing director of men’s cricket set to take charge ahead of England’s next assignment, against New Zealand, he could make a comeback. Vince averages 42.51 in first-class cricket since he last played a Test, with a maiden international century coming last summer, in an ODI against Pakistan.
Gary Kirsten, one of the contenders to take over as head coach, has sung Vince’s praises in recent times, describing him as “technically a really good player” in an interview with Wisden.com. But Vince explained that he is simply concentrating on performing at his best for Hampshire.
“No one knows who is going to get the job and, whoever it is, what their views on players who aren’t playing at the minute might be,” he said. “But it’s ifs and buts and uncontrollables. I think I’ve said it a million times now, I can only focus on what I’m doing here. There’s a big push from everyone at Hampshire to have a successful season and try and win some silverware. I’ll put all my energy and focus into that and we’ll see what happens.”