Ben Stokes is set to return to the England cricket team after he was cleared by the court from the charges of affray. His return will strengthen the already strong England team which won both the Tests played so far in this series against India.
But the bigger question was, who would Stokes replace in the third Test as Chris Woakes who was drafted in the team as a replacement for Stokes in the second Test scored a century and virtually booked a place for himself in the third Test.
It was speculated that Stokes might replace Jos Butler or Adil Rashid as both have performed poorly so far in this series. But the England team management has announced that both these players will be a part of the team for the third Test and it is Sam Curran who will warm the benches to allow Stokes some game time.
This decision may seem to be a bit harsh on Curran as he was the man-of-the-match for the first Test and had performed at the key moments to deliver England the advantage over India. In India’s first innings, Curran demolished India’s top order and finished with the figures of four for 73. Then in England’s second innings, he scored a vital knock of 63 when England had lost quick wickets and were on the brink of surrendering the Test.
He continued to impress in the second Test as well and scored a quick-fire innings of 40 to swell England’s first innings lead.
But despite these performances Curran won’t make it to the playing XI for the third Test as England has too many options. The pace battery of James Anderson and Stuart Broad is irreplaceable while Joe Root would keep one spot booked for a spinner. Chris Woakes has cemented his place as the third seamer and the team management believes in offering a longer rope to Butler. This leaves only one place vacant for Stokes which is currently occupied by Curran. The third Test of the series begins on Saturday August 18.