Ian Bell next to benefit from England's vice-captaincy merry-go-round

The job has already been filled in the past by Stuart Broad and Matt Prior

cricket correspondent

England will leave the appointment of their Test vice-captain until next week. On the trusty principle which seems to have become the basis for filling the position, Buggins' Turn – the practice of appointing on the basis of seniority rather than merit – the nod is likely to be given to Ian Bell.

The job has already been filled in the past by Stuart Broad and Matt Prior, which leaves Bell and Jimmy Anderson as the two other senior players who could conceivably deputise for Alastair Cook in an emergency. Anderson, a shrewd judge of batsmen's weaknesses, has expressed leadership ambitions in the past but Bell has impressed most observers with his tactical acumen when leading his county, Warwickshire.

Still, if Anderson were to miss out this time his chance may well come. Neither Broad nor Prior is likely to be considered for the role when the selectors finally get round to deciding on it. Broad was quietly dropped from it after he kept being injured and then briefly lost his place.

Prior was made vice-captain for last winter's Ashes tour but was dropped from the side before the end of the series. He has been recalled for the match starting next Thursday at Lord's, but the selectors are unlikely to want to thrust too much responsibility on him.

Matt Prior (left) was vice-captain to Alastair Cook in Australia last winter but was dropped during the Ashes series Matt Prior (left) was vice-captain to Alastair Cook in Australia last winter but was dropped during the Ashes series (Getty Images)
They give the impression that in their ideal world they would rather continue their steadfast loyalty to Cook as captain while expecting all the senior players to offer unconditional support and guidance. While they may be prepared to do this, they also need someone who can take charge if Cook is either injured or has to leave the field.

The position, as with the vice-presidency of the United States, has some trappings but almost no responsibility. Indeed, by saying they expect all the long-serving players to be prominent in advising the inexperienced rump of the side, the selectors have diminished its kudos further.

But they will have to make a call quickly. Other countries treat it more seriously. Brad Haddin does it for Australia and when South Africa made Hashim Amla their Test captain this week they made a point of stating that A B de Villiers remained vice-captain. England will anoint Bell some time before Thursday.

Sri Lanka reduced their hosts Northamptonshire to 146 for 5 on the second day of their tour match at Wantage Road, after declaring their first innings on 558 for 8. Opener Kaushal Silva had to retire hurt on his overnight score of 152. Richard Levi was the pick of the county batsmen, scoring 64 off 66 balls.

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect