Injured Ollie Pope doubtful for Test series opener against India

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England batter sustained a left thigh muscle injury while playing for Surrey in the Vitality Blast

Ollie Pope is an injury doubt for the first Test of the LV= Insurance series against India after sustaining a thigh muscle injury.
Pope, the 23-year-old batter, sustained the injury while playing for Surrey against Kent in the Vitality Blast on July 2. A statement from the ECB said: “Pope has been ruled out until England’s LV= Insurance Test Series against India after suffering a left thigh muscle injury.

“The ECB and Surrey fitness teams will work together to deliver Pope’s rehabilitation with a focus for him to be available to return for the first Test against India.”

That first Test starts on August 4 in Nottingham.

While Pope has not reached 35 in his 15 most recent Test innings, he was highly likely to retain his spot in England’s Test side as he is seen as perhaps the most talented young first-class batter in the English game.

His injury could open the door for a return for Dawid Malan, who has continued to impress with his temperament as much as his form with the bat in his opportunities in England’s white-ball side. Dan Lawrence could also prove a beneficiary.
Pope’s injury is also likely to minimise his involvement in The Hundred. Had he been fit, he was likely to have been available for Welsh Fire’s first three fixtures. The tournament has been best with withdrawals with a host of overseas players pulling out due to the congested international schedules and complications around travel in the time of Covid.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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