England rookie Ollie Pope hoping to emulate Sam Curran's transition into Test arena

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Ollie Pope is in line to make his England Test debut at Lord's.

Rookie batsman Ollie Pope is confident he can follow Surrey team-mate Sam Curran‘s lead and make a smooth transition to the Test arena.

Pope looks certain to make his England debut in the second Test against India this week, replacing the dropped Dawid Malan.

His call-up to the squad came after just 15 first-class matches, but national selector Ed Smith has been persuaded by a glut of stylish runs this season.

That age and inexperience should not act as a barrier was demonstrated at Edgbaston last week where Curran, more than four months younger than his county colleague, announced himself with a man-of-the-match showing in the series-opening win.

“The way he played last week can give me confidence to know I can do it,” said Pope.

“I’ve played with him since we were 14, 15 – as soon as he came over from Zim (Zimbabwe) – and we’ve gone through the same path.

“I’ve had a good season so far. I have confidence in my own game to take the next step. You hear stories of some of the greats of the game, people like Alastair Cook. I think he was 20 when he made his debut, so it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.

“Hopefully I take my chance.”

Barring an unexpected tactical switch Pope will line up at number four at Lord’s, despite regularly batting two places lower for the Brown Caps.

Pope has made rapid strides in England's domestic setup.

Pope has made rapid strides in England’s domestic setup.

He would take any such promotion in his stride, though. Asked if he would take on the challenge, he said: “If required, yes. Especially against this India side, where they bowl a lot of spin.

“It’s not massively different. When I bat at six sometimes I’ve been in the 10th over, other times I’m in for the second new ball. In the four to six region I don’t think there’s a massive difference in the way you play.”

Pope does not expect to be overawed by the occasion, with social media giving him time to get used to the idea of his maiden call-up and previous experience of playing at the home of cricket helping settle any nerves.

“I read a few articles I got tagged in on Twitter…I clicked on them out of curiosity and I took them in,” he said.

“You don’t want to get your hopes too high but I had an idea.

“I’ve played quite a lot cricket here (at Lord’s) and that’s quite nice. I was here for the first morning of the Pakistan Test; I was around the changing room and had a hit at lunch so I have an idea what it’s like to be here on the first morning of a Test.

“Obviously it’s a bit different when you’re playing, it will pretty special walking out there if I get the nod.”

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Spin it to win it and other talking points ahead of Lord's Test between England and India

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India will be tempted to play two spinners at Lord's.

England and India resume their battle after last week’s classic first Test at Edgbaston.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the key issues.

THE STOKES EFFECT

It would be fanciful to think England’s cricketers will be distracted by events at Bristol Crown Court, huddling anxiously around a screen to hear the latest dispatches from Ben Stokes‘ affray trial. His absence from the side does have the ability to destabilise the team, though. As he proved on the final morning in Birmingham, the Durham man is a cricketer desperate to be involved in the pivotal moments and the Ashes proved how crucial his all-round skill-set can be. There is no like-for-like replacement available so everyone will have to take their share of the water.

Ben Stokes' absence will be greatly felt by England.

Ben Stokes’ absence will be greatly felt by England.

POPE ON THE FAST TRACK

The swift promotion of Surrey’s latest prodigy, Ollie Pope, to the international arena represents Ed Smith’s most radical act in the selection hot seat. Those who have seen him in full flow – a relatively slender number given he has played a grand total of 15 first-class matches – purr at his fluency at the crease but this is a serious ask. He is pegged to bat number four, despite regularly coming in two places lower for his county, and the intensity of the occasion is sure to be step up. But in shelving the experienced Dawid Malan for a 20-year-old rookie, England are making a conscious effort to future-proof their middle-order.

Ollie Pope has undergone a meteoric rise.

Ollie Pope has undergone a meteoric rise.

SPIN IT TO WIN IT

It came as something of a surprise to see both sides field solitary spinners in the series opener, particularly after England’s long, hot summer. With Ravichandran Ashwin enjoying great success last time out India will surely be minded to fall back on an extra tweaker at Lord’s and have Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav both waiting in the wings. England face a trickier balancing act. They have the option of slotting Moeen Ali in as Stokes’ stand-in, and he would provide some dependable off-spin overs, but Chris Woakes has also been drafted into the squad and he comes closer than anyone to maintaining the match-winning formula.

Ashwin had a lot of success at Edgbaston.

Ashwin had a lot of success at Edgbaston.

ROOT’S UNLUCKY 13

England captain Joe Root‘s consistent ability to churn out half-centuries is as admirable as his inclination to falter before three figures is frustrating. Nobody is more aware of his modest conversion rate than the skipper, who has frequently spoken of his desire to become more ruthless when he is set. He has waited almost a year, and 22 innings, to go from 13 to 14 Test tons and a ground where he already has three entries on the honours board could be the perfect place to put that right.

Root will want to get over his conversion woes.

Root will want to get over his conversion woes.

CAN PUJARA BE KOHLI’S FOIL?

Kohli must wonder what more he can do after reeling off 200 runs in a losing cause. The answer is, not a lot, but the same is not true for his top-order colleagues. India badly need somebody to knuckle down and chip in with a major contribution and the most likely candidate could be the man who sat out at Edgbaston. Cheteshwar Pujara made a good decision in signing for Yorkshire to acclimatise to English conditions but his lack of red-ball form in that stint ultimately counted against him. Yet he still averages over 50 in Test cricket – considerably more than Murali Vijay or Shikhar Dhawan – and looks ripe for a recall.

Pujara could be just the foil Kohli needs at the moment.

Pujara could be just the foil Kohli needs at the moment.

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ICC sanction second edition of the T10 League in Sharjah

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Eoin Morgan was one of the players to feature in 2017

The International Cricket Council (ICC) officially sanctioned the second season of the T10 League which will be held in November.

The 10-over event begins from November 23 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium that will see eight franchises compete in an expanded 10-day competition.

Last year’s inaugural edition had been approved by the ICC and T10 League chairman Shaji Ul-Mulk said the sanctioning is important for their growth.

“This sanction from ICC for T10 League gives our partners, stakeholders and more importantly the players a much-needed boost,” he said. “Having said that, it additionally gives us responsibility to ensure we keep growing year-on-year and make this format globally acceptable.”

Salman Iqbal, T10 League president, added: “The sanction from the ICC will only add further shine to the global appeal of the event. We believe that value creation for the new teams will see a positive growth from year one. From four-day league to a ten-day league with more teams and larger pool of international players is a testament of faith shown by fans and stakeholders.”

Following on from last year’s success, which was won by Eoin Morgan’s Kerala Kings side, the 2018 edition has so far attracted some of the biggest names in cricket.

Afghanistan teenager Rashid Khan (Maratha Arabians), Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (Pakhtoons) and Shoaib Malik (Punjabi Legends), Morgan (Kerala Kings), New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum (Rajputs), West Indies’ Sunil Narine (Bengal Tigers), Darren Sammy (Northern Warriors) and Australia’s Shane Watson (Karachians) have been named as icon players. Team owners will finalise their squads in early September.

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