Srinagar: Already 2-0 down in the series, England have been dealt a massive blow for the rest of the Ashes series with their No.3 batter ruled out for all three Tests.
Ollie Pope, the vice-captain and No.3 batter of the England cricket team, has been ruled out for the remainder of the Men’s Ashes Series due to a dislocated right shoulder sustained during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s last week.
Following comprehensive scans conducted in London on Monday, the extent of his injury has been revealed, necessitating surgical intervention. Throughout his rehabilitation process, he will receive close attention and support from the medical teams of both England and Surrey.
Notably, there will be no immediate replacement called up for the third Ashes Test, scheduled to commence at Headingley on Thursday.
Australia great Ricky Ponting thinks there is plenty of question marks surrounding England ahead of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s
Pope damaged his shoulder while attempting a dive on day one of the Lord’s Test.
He was forced to take the field on day three at the insistence of the umpires and aggravated the injury as a result.
England had named Pope in the squad for the third Test soon after the end of the Lord’s Test with Dan Lawrence the only backup batter in the squad.
Now with Pope ruled out and the crucial No.3 spot vacant, England have a big decision to make, one that could be decisive as the look to make a comeback in the series.
Lawrence is the like-for-like replacement available, but last played a Test in March 2022.
In 11 Tests, he averages 29.0 with four fifties, and fronting up to an Australian attack that has been sharp in the two matches so far would be quite the task.
Moeen Ali, who has batted six times at the No.3 position, Joe Root himself and Harry Brook are others capable of filling in for Pope at one drop.
England squad for third Test: Ben Stokes (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood