Chris Woakes’ magnificent century in the on-going Lord’s Test has surely troubled India, but it has also created headaches for the England team management. Woakes came in the team as a replacement for Ben Stokes who missed the second Test due to his court ruling.
But for the third Test, Stokes might return if the trial going on at Bristol Court gets over.
This creates the question, who will Stokes replace if the selectors choose him in the squad? Woakes has atleast secured his position for the third Test courtesy of his hundred so Stokes will most probably replace one of these three players-
1. Jos Butler-
England’s de facto wicket-keeper in the limited overs format, Jos Butler is playing in the Test team as a specialist batsman. But the right-hand batsman has so far failed to create any impact with the bat. In three innings he has scores of 0, 1, and 24.
Butler’s fielding in the slips is a cause of concern as well as he dropped a few catches in the slip cordon during the first innings at Lord’s. With Johnny Baristow handling the wicket-keeping gloves, Butler’s presence in the team isn’t adding much value.
The team management will be tempted to replace Stokes with Butler to get some solidity in the batting order and also to strengthen the bowling department.
2. Adil Rashid-
The inclusion of Adil Rashid created a lot of buzz and several veteran cricketers were unhappy with ECB’s decision to call back Rashid for Tests. However, the team management still went with their intuition and played Rashid in the first two Tests.
But it seems like this bold decision hasn’t delivered the desired results. Rashid has failed to create any magic with the ball so he might make way for Stokes in the third Test.
3. Ollie Pope-
It may seem too harsh on the youngster, but Ollie Pope could be dropped from the team only after featuring in one Test. Pope so far has enjoyed a quiet debut and scored 28 runs in his first Test innings.
The young batsman may have to be the scapegoat so that Stokes gets a place in the team.