England could be without top-order batsman Zak Crawley for the first Test against India in Chennai starting February 5 (Friday). Crawley slipped outside the dressing room and suffered an injury to his right wrist. As a result, he was sent for scans and further updates are now awaited before the team takes a call on his availability for the Test series. Crawley had opened the batting alongside Dom Sibley during England’s recent 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka but was expected to slot in at the Number 3 position following the return of Rory Burns, who was on paternity leave and has in recent times established himself as England’s first-choice opener.
However, it remains unclear as of now what the extent of Crawley’s injury is and England may have to come up with a new team combination to fill the hole in the batting order.
“Zak Crawley did not train today at England’s practice session in Chennai. He slipped outside the dressing room yesterday (Tuesday) and has injured his right wrist," said a statement from the England cricket team.
“We are waiting on the results of scans and will know more tomorrow, ahead of our final practice. There is nothing further to add at this stage."
Ollie Pope, who himself was added to the squad on Wednesday after proving his fitness, may get added into the team but there’s also Ben Stokes to consider, who will be returning to the side after missing the series against Sri Lanka and has in the past batted at 3.
The 23-year-old Pope has practised with the full squad over the past two days. England will have their final practice at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai tomorrow ahead of the first Test starting on Friday.
Pope had initially been ruled out of action for up to four months after he sustained the injury in August while saving a boundary in the third Test against Pakistan in Southampton.
He had previously missed three months of cricket after dislocating the same shoulder playing for Surrey.
Joe Root was in fine form at Number 4 during the Sri Lanka series but may have to move up the order once again if England feel the need for him to do so.
The first two matches of the four-test series will be played in Chennai before the teams travel to Ahmedabad for the last two games. India beat the touring England side 4-0 in 2016-17 before losing 4-1 in England in 2018.