England's Woakes, Pope get test call up against India

Cricket | Steve James August 3 2018 5:00pm The Times Too many left-handers? No — just too few other options Steve James

Cricket | Steve James August 3 2018 5:00pm The Times Too many left-handers? No — just too few other options Steve James

England, looking to take advantage of a green-tinged pitch, made two changes from the side that beat India by 31 runs in the first Test at Edgbaston last week to go 1-0 up in this five-match series.

While Surrey's 20-year-old middle-order batsman Ollie Pope replaces Middlesex's Dawid Malan, Warwickshire's Woakes returns in place of Durham's Ben Stokes, who faces a court hearing this week in Bristol, according to a release.

But what do we know of England's new batsmen?

Pope, 20, has impressed by reaching the 1000-run mark in just 15 first-class matches for domestic side Surrey.

OLLIE Pope's remarkable progress from school to Test cricket could be completed on the grandest of stages after being called up by England.

Ahead of this year's county season, Pope was named in the South squad for the North-South series in the Caribbean, which features some the best young talent from all 18 counties.

Pope also hit an unbeaten 69 in the reverse fixture at Headingley to keep Surrey's unbeaten run going and is second in the list of Championship runscorers with 684 - only behind his teammate Ben Foakes.

Although he took three catches at Edgbaston, he also dropped three, including Virat Kohli on 21.

"(But) the four innings, there were wickets falling left, right and center.

Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes.

"I've played with him since we were 14 or 15 - as soon as he came over from Zimbabwe - and we've gone through the same path". You play him like a normal off-spinner, (but) you've just got to watch him a bit closer out of the hand.

"They want the ball - they want to do the batting".

"Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first class career".

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. Just knowing I'm not one of the first ones to play when I'm young or after not a huge amount of games. He wants to get better and will get better.

"Everyone always says if you're good enough, your old enough", said Pope. He has showed this year and last year that he is a consistent run scorer and now he needs to transfer those skills and runs on to a higher level. They bowl a lot of spin, so I don't think there's a massive difference.

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