Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Stokes wishes England newcomer Pope well

Stokes wishes England newcomer Pope well

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.

"Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first-class career", said national selector Ed Smith, who described him as the "standout batsman" in Division One. It is particularly notable (more so in hindsight) because Pope batted at number four: a change from his usual position at Surrey of number six.

Surrey's crop of exciting youngsters had already been highlighted by all-rounder Sam Curran - also 20 - whose man-of-the-match performance at Edgbaston had much to do with England going 1-0 up, and the call-up of his county colleague was another indication of director of cricket Alec Stewart's determination to produce not only a successful team, but players fit to move up to global level.

Both man of the match Curran, in only his second Test, and then Stokes - just two days before the court date in Bristol which will rule him out of Lord's this week - played starring roles in the 31-run win. Left-Handed Dawid Malan and all-rounder Ben Stokes have been dropped from the side.

It was the first time a whole day's Test play in England had been lost to bad weather since August 24 2013 when the fourth day of the fifth Ashes clash at The Oval was abandoned without a ball bowled.

"Ollie will come in and bat at four". He has reached a 1000 first class runs in just 15 matches and is the first division's stand-out batsman this season with 684 runs at 85.

Watch day two of the second Test between England and India, at Lord's, live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) and Sky Sports Main Event (channel 401) from 10.30am on Friday. Likewise last year: if someone told me I was going to make my Championship debut last year, I wouldn't have believed them.

"It will be interesting to see who can step up and take his place".

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.

"I think it's the fearlessness", Pope said.

'I have been since I had the call really.

"I read a few articles I got tagged in on Twitter... It's not a massive difference, just got to look a bit closer".

"Obviously I did the right things at the club and they enjoyed having me", he said.

"I don't think it'll be any different for India".

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