Uncapped Ollie Pope replaces Dawid Malan in England squad for Lord's Test against India

Sport360 staff 15:27 05/08/2018
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Surrey's Ollie Pope will come in for Dawid Malan at Lord's.

England have dropped out-of-form Dawid Malan and replaced him with uncapped 20-year-old batsman Ollie Pope in their 13-man squad to face India at Lord’s this week.

Pope’s promotion is one of two changes, with the other enforced as Chris Woakes returns in place of Ben Stokes. The Durham all-rounder is absent for the second Specsavers Test while he attends Bristol Crown Court on a charge of affray.

National selector Ed Smith, who has already made a clutch of bold calls since beginning his tenure this summer, has again placed his faith in youth by selecting Pope. He is the same age as Surrey team-mate Sam Curran, who was England’s man of the match in the thrilling 31-run win at Edgbaston.

Less than 24 hours later, Pope, also a wicketkeeper but in the Test frame as yet only as a specialist batsman – has entered the equation on the back of his outstanding county form so far this season.

Smith said: “Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first-class career.

“He has reached one thousand first-class runs in just 15 matches and is the first division’s ‘stand-out’ batsman this season with 684 runs at 85.

“The selection panel believe that Ollie’s performances and character suggest he is well-suited to international cricket.”

Pope has hit three championship hundreds this summer, with a top score of 158 not out, and also an unbeaten half-century in England Lions’ wide-margin win over India A at Worcester last month.

His chances of making a Lord’s debut appear strong, although England could conceivably field both seamer Woakes and off-spinner Moeen Ali as two all-round options and rejig their batting order.

Middlesex batsman Malan has been short of runs this summer, with only 74 in five Test innings – after which Smith appears to have indicated an extended absence may be in the offing.

He said: “Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions.

“Ben Stokes is unavailable – but Chris Woakes, with some extra matches and practices under his belt, can now return to the England squad after injury.”

England Squad (v India at Lord’s)

JE Root (Captain), MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow (wkt), SCJ Broad, JC Buttler, AN Cook, SM Curran, KK Jennings, OJD Pope, JA Porter, AU Rashid, CR Woakes

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