Ollie Pope ruled out of 1st Test; Jonny Bairstow set to replace him
By SMCS - Aug 4, 2021 2:23 pm
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England has faced another big blow prior to the Test series against India as middle-order batsman Ollie Pope has been ruled out after having a thigh strain. Experienced batsman Jonny Bairstow, who had last time during the Test series in India earlier this year, is all set to replace Pope in Nottingham.

ollie pope
Ollie Pope

Meanwhile, England won’t get the service of their match-winning all-rounder, Ben Stokes, as he decided to pull out of the India Tests to focus on his mental well-being as well as his finger injury.

As per the report in The Telegraph, Pope failed in the fitness Test in the nets at Trent Bridge on Tuesday and hence was declared unavailable for the first Test as well. Meanwhile, England has other options as well with Dan Lawrence. He hit 81 in one of the Tests against New Zealand. Since Stokes will be unavailable, England are likely to back Jonny Bairstow.

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Jonny Bairstow registered three ducks in four innings against India in the Test matches. On the other hand, India too have been struggling with injuries where Indian opener Shubman Gill has already been ruled out of the entire series earlier alongside Mayank Agarwal, who has ruled out of the first Test after being struck on the helmet during the practice session.

root ton
Joe Root scored a brilliant ton

While speaking at a recent pre-match conference, Joe Root had stated: “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. 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.”

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He further added: “Against India 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.”