Dawid Malan dropped as selectors call in Ollie Pope for second Test

Dawid Malan dropped as selectors call in Ollie Pope for second Test

"Likewise, if someone told me I was going to make my Championship debut past year, I wouldn't have believed them".

Pope made his Surrey first-team debut in the County Championship in August 2017 against Middlesex at The Oval, in the infamous match that was abandoned after a crossbow was sacked on to the pitch after tea during the final day's play. Indian fans would also remember his battle with Sachin Tendulkar in his last Test match as his tight lines and lengths made the maestro work hard for his runs.

Fewer 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.

Given Malan's limited footwork and first-class average of 37, however, it is improbable that he has a long-term Test career ahead of him, and it is better to blood the 20-year-old Pope in a position of strength.

Pope has been in brilliant form for County Championship leaders Surrey this season, scoring 684 runs at a huge average of 85.50, including three centuries and a top score of 158 not out. Handed the wicketkeeping gloves and batting at five, Pope struck an unbeaten 50 of 71 balls in the second innings - and took three catches in the match to help the Lions pull off an impressive win.

"(But) the four innings, there were wickets falling left, right and center. That's a massive thing for a young lad to do, especially when you're just finding your way in the game.

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As far as inspiration for a young batsman on the cusp of an worldwide Test career goes, Sachin Tendulkar isn't a bad shout.

Fellow pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes came into the side in Stokes's absence, with off-spinner Moeen Ali dropped from a squad where uncapped Essex pace bowler Jamie Porter had already been released.

"I know the hotel we'll stay in the night before - I know where I need to be and when I need to be there. The selection panel believe that Ollie's performances and character suggest he is well suited to global cricket". 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. He's only played 15 first-class game but he gets better and better each game.

I always say if you're good enough, you're good enough.

"The way he [Curran] played last week can give me confidence to know I can do it", Pope said on Tuesday.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a concern ... losing plenty of wickets in quick succession", he added.

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