Due to a thigh injury, England’s middle-order batsman Ollie Pope has been pulled out of the opening of the five-match Test series versus India. The first match is set to start on 4th August, which does not reflect well for the host team. Pope was supposed to bat at sixth position in the Trent Bridge Test, but he won’t be able to do so anymore. Here is Why ECB Replaced Pope With Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow, the English wicketkeeper-batsman, will substitute Pope in the XI and will most likely bat in the middle order. Bairstow hasn’t been in great form recently in the red-ball format, as he’s been failing to put up decent numbers. Despite Ben Stokes as well as Jofra Archer out already, Pope’s injury comes at an unexpected moment for the side.
Why ECB Replaced Pope With Bairstow
In the county circuit, Pope has been in great form for his side. The right-handed batsman is also a capable spinner, which would have come in handy against Ravi Ashwin. According to The Telegraph, the batsman failed to demonstrate his fitness in the nets, prompting the ECB to replace Pope with Bairstow.
— Telegraph Cricket (@telecricket) August 3, 2021
Bairstow has had his own problems in Test cricket, having recorded 3 ducks in 4 innings during his team’s last Test visit to India. The right-hander was regularly exposed by the Indian spinners.
In my opinion, there is no one who compares to Ben Stokes in world cricket: Joe Root
Furthermore, England Test captain Joe Root is confident in his team’s ability to win the series versus India despite the absence of finest all-rounder Ben Stokes. Root believes it is an opportunity for other players to stand up and be counted now that the 30-year-old has declared he would not be participating in the series due to mental health concerns.
“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”, said Root in a pre-match press conference.
“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 added.
“Against India the last series, Chris performed at Lord’s, and Sam throughout that whole series. More recently, at Old Trafford against Pakistan, the partnership between Jos Buttler and Woakes was match-defining”.
“We have found ways to manage to win without Ben. And this is another opportunity for us to try and do that. Hopefully, we can start it this week at Trent Bridge and then take it forward,” he concluded.