Pope returns but England sweat over Crawley ahead of first Test

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Middle-order batsman Ollie Pope was on Wednesday added to England’s squad for the much-anticipated Test series opener against India even as young opener Zak Crawley sustained a freak wrist injury and missed the practice sessions in Chennai.

The 23-year-old Pope had suffered a dislocated shoulder while fielding in the final Test of the English summer against Pakistan last August which subsequently required surgery. It was the second time he had suffered a dislocation to the shoulder.

Pope took part in the team’s training sessions here over the past two days after the end of the quarantine period.

Pope, who has been undergoing rehabilitation, travelled with the England team during its recent tour of Sri Lanka though he was not part of the squad. It helped him continue his rehabilitation with England’s support staff and get acclimatise to conditions in the sub-continent.

“Surrey batsman Ollie Pope has been added to the England Test squad for the tour of India,” said a statement issued by the England and the Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Pope has fully recovered from a left shoulder injury sustained in August 2020 against Pakistan. The England medical team are satisfied that he is available for selection.”

If picked in the playing XI for the first Test starting on Friday, which is a high possibility, Pope is likely to bat at either number five or number six.

Crawley, on the other hand, suffered a right wrist injury on Tuesday after slipping outside his dressing room and is awaiting results of his scans.

“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,” the ECB said in a statement.

“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.”

England will have their final practice at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday, the ECB added in the statement.

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Vishwas Gupta