Ollie Pope unlikely to play first Test against India

After suffering a thigh muscle injury on his left leg, England batsman Ollie Pope is uncertain for the opening Test against India at Trent Bridge.

On July 2, the 23-year-old was injured during a T20 Blast match between Surrey and Kent. “After suffering a left thigh muscle injury, Pope has been ruled out until England’s Test Series against India,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stated in a statement.

“The ECB and Surrey fitness departments will collaborate to deliver Pope’s rehabilitation, with the goal of having him available for the first Test against India”.

Pope has scored 889 runs at an average of 31.50 in 19 Tests, including five fifties and a century. He has, however, not been in the best of form of late, failing to reach past 35 in any of the last eight Tests. Pope played against India on the subcontinent, scoring just 153 runs in eight innings at 19.12, and then failed to score large in the home series against New Zealand, with scores of 22, 20*, 19, and 23.

If Pope is unable to restore fitness in time for the Test series, Dawid Malan, who has impressed in limited-overs cricket so far, is set to be moved into the middle order. Pope’s ailment will also limit his participation in The Hundred. He would have been available for Welsh Fire’s first three games if he had been fit. The tournament has seen the most withdrawals, with a slew of international players pulling out owing to crowded international schedules and travel issues around Covid.