Former England skipper Nasser Hussain believes that only Ollie Pope can make way for returning Ben Stokes in the hosts’ squad for the third Test against India, considering the form of other all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes.
Sam Curran’s all-round performance in the first Test helped the hosts win a thriller at Edgbaston, while Stokes’ replacement in the second Chris Woakes slammed a majestic ton and also scalped four wickets to be named the Man of the Match at Lord’s.
However, with Stokes back in the fray for the third Test at Trent Bridge after the court found him to be not guilty for affray, the star all-rounder will feel that he deserves a place in the line-up following his good show in the opening Test.
Nasser Hussain feels that neither of the two all-rounders can be dislodged from their respective positions in the line-up and therefore, the one player that could miss out will be young middle-order batsman Pope, who made his debut at Lord’s.
Hussain wrote ,I’ve always felt Woakes should play in every home Test. And can you drop Sam Curran after his all-round heroics at Edgbaston? Because, let’s face it, without his runs and wickets, India would probably have won that game, and it would be 1-1 going to Trent Bridge. I would feel very uncomfortable about leaving out a player who has just contributed to a big win. On balance, I’d keep Curran.
That leaves, I’m afraid to say, Ollie Pope. It’s not fair on him, because he did well on debut at Lord’s. But these are exceptional circumstances, and Pope’s chance will come again soon. It is not often you need six bowlers, especially in England, but because both Woakes and Curran have to stay put, and you need a spinner in Adil Rashid in case it turns, that is the situation England find themselves in,” he added.