Ahead of the 1st Test of the five-match series against India, England have been dealt with a huge blow as their middle-order batsman Ollie Pope has been ruled out. He was injured during the T20 Blast only but was included in the squad for the first two Tests expecting he will recover just on time.
But according to The Telegraph, Pope failed the fitness test on Tuesday and thus has been declared unavailable for the opening Test match at Trent Bridge. Jonny Bairstow is the likeliest candidate to replace him and bat at five now. Interestingly, Bairstow had a torrid time against India earlier this year and will be keen on doing well if the opportunity comes.
As far as England is concerned, their underfire batting line-up has weakened further now with Ben Stokes also pulling out of the whole series last week to look after his mental health. England also have the option of including Dan Lawrence who did well late on India tour and also impressed during the New Zealand Tests at home in June.
Meanwhile, England skipper Joe Root admitted that the team will miss Ben Stokes but is confident that they can win even without the all-rounder. He feels that the likes of Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and other all-rounders will step up as this is a big opportunity for them to impress.
“In my opinion, there is no one who compares to Ben Stokes in world cricket. For a long time, he has very much been the heartbeat of this team. But that does present opportunities for others to step up and put a big performance.
We have seen in the past the guys have been able to manage that. There have been times when we have been without Ben, and the likes of Sam Curran and Chris Woakes have come in,” Root said in the pre-match press conference.