England caught cold as Jos Buttler injury puts pressure on Ollie Pope, says Alec Stewart
Alec Stewart told The Cricket Debate that England will not go on tour.
Former keeper and wicketkeeper-batsman Stewart spoke out after Jos Buttler was ruled out with a back injury after the Ollie Pope of Surrey was handed the gloves for the next Test against New Zealand.
Pope armed himself well on a rain-shortened afternoon where the Black Caps reached 173-3 about the back of an unbeaten century from Tom Latham (101no) but otherwise England’s bid to level the series didn’t go to script.
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“I have a little bit of sympathy for Ed Smith, National Selector, because the prospect of a keeper going down in a two-Test show is five per cent,” Stewart said.
“But it’s international cricket. It is not exactly what you need and I am convinced it will never happen because they have been captured cold.
“Ollie Pope is a’keeper – that he kept as a child – but obviously with Ben Foakes at Surrey his chances are extremely rare but he did an exceptional job now.
“He’s best when new. When he said he’d got the nod, I talked to him and he’s done of keeping in practice leading a bit.
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“But it’s far from perfect – not just from Pope’s point of view but from England’s point of view as when (and I hope it doesn’t happen) Pope puts down a chance, then folks will be saying’where’s a correct’keeper?’
“Foakes is England’s finest’keeper and should be in that setup and I’d love to think he’ll be heading to South Africa. He is at the fitness center at the Oval working hard. He had been on official standby.
“If anything had happened in the first two warm-up matches or if anything happened in the very first Test match that he had time to get out there however since Buttler got hurt the day before in the gym, he had no cost of heading out there.
“The one thing where I believe England did slide up is when Jonny Bairstow remained out to cover off Joe Denly’s ankle injury – for the sake of 10 days, why would not you maintain Jonny out there now?”
The selection of england came under closer examination after Zak Crawley was given a introduction plus Chris Woakes was preferred to Jack Leach – first time that England have gone without a spinner since the Headingley clash.
Together with Kent batsman Crawley inked into bat at six, Pope will drop down to seven – per movement Stewart described as”harsh”.
“He made his debut batting at four, which he shouldn’t have done – he should have begun ,” said Stewart. “He is now beginning at six – ok he’s played with two loose shots at the very first game.
“He is going down to seven so again he’s batting from position. When he goes to bat he’ll have 100 or some other number of overs in his legs – . He is a tough cookie but he’s not the best option; Ben Foakes is the most suitable choice.”
Also on The Cricket Debate, in which Alec and host Charles Colvile were united by former Kent and England batsman Rob Key…
– whether playing five seamers is a good idea. Rob says not…
– Why does England’s selection suggest a lack of confidence in Jack Leach’s capacity to create chances with the ball?
– how badly could Stokes’ harm affect England’s hopes of levelling the series and can that he stay appropriate for South Africa?
– Why are England getting the best out of Jofra Archer? Alec says Chris Jordan has a role to play
– what makes Tom Latham such an batsman, in particular his tempo
– when it wasn’t a error, if he had 25 why the choice overturned against Ross Taylor
Watch two of the second Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports Cricket (station 404) along with Sky Sports Main Event (station 401) by 9pm on Friday.