England have called up middle-order Ollie Pope to the Test squad as a backup to Jason Roy for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Leeds, that starts tomorrow. Roy has been cleared to take part in the Test match but since there have been cases of players suffering after-effects of concussion even 48 hours after the blow, England decided to call-up Pope as a precautionary measure.
Roy was hit on the helmet by throw-down from Marcus Trescothick during the net session yesterday. After a break for a while, he continued to bat following a concussion test. He again underwent the test on the eve of the match and has been cleared to be part of it.
Should Roy play the Test, England will be unchanged but if he misses out, then he will be replaced by Pope. Joe Denly will open the innings in that case while Pope will bat in the middle-order.
The 21-year-old had made his Test debut against India at ord’s last year. In two Tests that he played in the series, Olle Pope scored 54 runs in three innings at an average of 18.
Incidentally, Pope was recalled into the Test side on the day when he scored his highest first-class score. Playing against Hampshire, Pope was at 176* at stumps yesterday and he celebrated his call-up with a double-century, remaining not-out on a score of 221*. He was also with the team in the previous Test at Lord’s but wasn’t added to the squad.
Meanwhile, Australia may want to put Marnus Labuschagne under concussion test before the start of the third Test. The right-handed batsman was again hit by a bouncer.
Australian quick Mitchell Starc hit him on his helmet during the practice session yesterday. It was the second time within two days that he suffered a blow to his helmet.
If cleared, he will be replacing Steve Smith in the playing XI. The latter failed the concussion test – on the morning of day five at Lord’s – after him being by Jofra Archer and was ruled out of the third Test.