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Ollie Pope

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It may also be that Pope takes Dawid Malan’s place at No4, which would be an extraordinary induction. No England batsman has made his Test debut at that position in almost 20 years, since Michael Vaughan took on South Africa in 1999, the famous Wanderers Test in which England were 2 for 4 before Vaughan launched a dogged rearguard that portended the golden career to come.

Edited by tweaker

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Ollie Pope is England’s latest Test debutant to benefit from a daring – or desperate – faith in youth



If Pope does make his debut for the second Test, he will become the fourth player aged 20 or younger to have been picked by England this year.


In the space of eight months, England will have called up more under-21s than in the entire 16 years of Duncan Fletcher, Peter Moores, Andy Flower and Peter Moores again.


Boldness or desperation? It’s probably a bit of both. Either way, Pope’s elevation – following in the footsteps of Mason Crane, Dom Bess and his Surrey team-mate Sam Curran – represents a sustained punt on youth the likes of which English cricket has not seen in its history.


And throwing a 20-year-old middle-order batsmen into a Lord’s Test against the world’s No1 team certainly counts as that.

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