England pick Dan Lawrence over Ollie Pope for Test warmup

England pick Dan Lawrence over Ollie Pope for Test warmup

GEORGE DOBELL: Pope featured in three Tests in the Ashes. While he started the series relatively brightly with 35 in Brisbane, he failed to pass 14 in his next five innings. Lawrence, meanwhile, was an unused squad member in Australia.

England Pick Dan Lawrence Over Ollie Pope For Test Warmup

Dan Lawrence would appear to have risen above Ollie Pope in the race for a spot in England’s middle-order having been named in the side for a warm-up match starting on Tuesday.

England Pick Dan Lawrence Over Ollie Pope For Test Warmup

While the match, against a Cricket West Indies President’s XI, is not first-class and could feature all 16 of the England squad, Lawrence has been named at No.4 in the line-up with the team management intimating that the 11 named will bat in order. It is the only warm-up match ahead of the Test series and provide a decent indication of England’s plans.

Pope featured in three Tests in the Ashes. While he started the series relatively brightly with 35 in Brisbane, he failed to pass 14 in his next five innings and finished the campaign with an average of 11.16. He has reached 50 only once in his 23 most recent Test innings.

Lawrence, meanwhile, has suffered three ducks in his five most recent Test innings, though he did make an unbeaten 81 against New Zealand. There was talk ahead of the Ashes about him contributing with the ball, too, though expectations should probably be managed on that account: he has claimed only 15 first-class wickets.

Lawrence’s selection for the first Test while likely is not completely certain, though. Jonny Bairstow was named in the England side for the warm-up ahead of the Ashes but, after an underwhelming performance in the game, found Pope preferred in the side for the first Test. Bairstow, who made a century in the penultimate Ashes Test, looks inked in to bat at No.6 with Ben Stokes at No.5.

The other selection of note is that of Craig Overton ahead of the uncapped pair of Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood. Overton was a non-playing member of the Ashes squad but the England management are thought to admire his commitment with bat, ball and in the field and may rely on him to bowl long spells in order that others can be rotated. With the pitch in Antigua expected to offer some assistance to spinners, Overton looks the most precariously placed of the 12-man squad with Jack Leach likely to play ahead of him in the Test. Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson are expected to take the new ball for England.

The England 12 also includes the uncapped Alex Lees, who is set to open for the entire Test series, and a recall for Ben Foakes, who is set to bat at No.7 and keep wicket throughout the series. Both selections were anticipated when the tour squad was announced. The entire England squad is understood to be fit and considered available for selection.

The match features a return to the Coolidge cricket ground. While England Under-19s have played at the ground in relatively recent times (the last time was in December 2019), the last time a senior England side appeared at the ground (the termed the Stanford Cricket Ground) was as part of the Stanford Super Series in November 2008. Paul Collingwood, the interim England head coach, batted at No.6 in that side.

England (first XI expected to bat): Crawley, Lees, Root (c), Lawrence, Stokes, Bairstow, Foakes (wk), Woakes, Overton, Wood, Robinson, Leach

Subs: Fisher, Mahmood, Parkinson, Pope

CWI President’s XI (from): Shane Dowrich (c), Raymon Reifer (vc), Colin Archibald, Alick Athanaze, Keacy Carty, Bryan Charles, Shermon Lewis, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Jeremy Solozano, Shamar Springer, Devon Thomas

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