England bowl against India in 2nd Test

Cricket | Steve James August 3 2018 5:00pm The Times Too many left-handers? No — just too few other options Steve James

Assuming Pope makes the side, he will need all his qualities, not least if England send him in at number four, given he bats two places lower for Surrey.

He was also a regular in the English developmental squads during 2016-17 and played for the Lions in their first-class fixture against India A last month where he scored 50 not out in a 253 runs victory at Blackfinch New Road, Worcester.

Pope received his England cap from former England captain Alec Stewart, his director of cricket at Surrey.

Given Malan's limited footwork and first-class average of 37, however, it is improbable that he has a long-term Test career ahead of him, and it is better to blood the 20-year-old Pope in a position of strength.

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.

Following England's left-handed batsmens' troubles against Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Pope offers another welcome right-handed option for England.

Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes. You play him like a normal off-spinner, you've just got to watch him a bit closer out of the hand. They have now replaced Stokes with fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Woakes, who missed out on a Test at his Warwickshire home ground because of concerns he had not then bowled enough overs following a return from a knee injury.

Ed Smith spoke about Pope scoring 1,000 runs in just 15 matches as evidence of his promise, and the batsman was confident he can deliver against India if he gets to make a dream debut at Lord's. "I hope Ollie Pope plays as he has done for his county and enjoys his debut". "The selection panel believe that Ollie's performances and character suggest he is well suited to worldwide cricket".

Surrey's Pope, 20, is the second highest run-scorer in County Championship Division One this season, with 684 at an average of 85.50.

Stokes said "matters had become too serious to ignore and that I had to intervene".

"The way he [Curran] played last week can give me confidence to know I can do it", Pope said on Tuesday.

Root also went onto praise the youngster's performance for county side Surrey "I think he's performed exceptionally well this season in County Championship cricket", Root said. Now, well into his thirties, Best played his last competitive game nearly a year ago.

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