Middle-order batsman Dawid Malan has been dropped in favour of Surrey youngster Ollie Pope, for the second Test between England and India, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Sunday. In addition, Chris Woakes has been called up as a replacement for all-rounder Ben Stokes, who faces a court hearing this coming week in Bristol.
England are currently leading the five-match series 1-0 after their thrilling 31-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston. The second Test is scheduled to be played at Lord's, starting Thursday.
Commenting on the selection of the squad, National Selector Ed Smith said: "Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first class career. 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. The selection panel believe that Ollie’s performances and character suggest he is well suited to international cricket."
"Dawid Malan drops out of the squad for Lord’s. Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions," he added.
Malan has not been in the best of form since the start of the year, having aggregated just 219 runs in 11 innings, with only two 50-plus scores. The 30-year-old had a poor outing in the first Test against India at Edgbaston, registering 8 and 20 in the two innings and also dropping multiple chances in the slips.
His drops of Virat Kohli on 21 and 51 in the first innings proved costly for the hosts as the Indian skipper went on to score his 22nd Test century. He then put down Murali Vijay in the second innings, but the consequences were not as severe.
Malan's replacement, 20-year-old Pope has had a terrific start to the domestic season, having scored 684 runs for Surrey in the 2018 County Championship at an average of 85.50, including three centuries and one fifty. Pope also scored 50 for England Lions in their four-day win against India A by 253 runs at the end of July.
But his selection at Lord’s will hinge on whether England captain Joe Root wants a replacement for Malan or strengthen his spin department through the addition of all-rounder Moeen Ali.
Speaking on Chris Woakes’ inclusion, Smith said: "Ben Stokes is unavailable, but Chris Woakes, with some extra matches and practices under his belt, can now return to the England squad after injury."
Squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Ollie Pope, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes