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Other SportsIndia v England: Pope hints at additional seam option

India v England: Pope hints at additional seam option

Ollie Pope has hinted England will select a second seamer in the third Test against India, which gets underway on Thursday.

The tourists have gone with just one non-spin option in the first two games – the series is tied at 1-1 – with Mark Wood playing in Hyderabad and James Anderson in Visakhapatnam.

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But a covering of green grass on the pitch in Rajkot means England could be tempted into a change of tactic. Anderson bowled well in the second Test and is likely to retain his place with either Wood or Ollie Robinson coming into the side.

England vice-captain Pope told BBC Sport: “If it [the pitch] stays like that, there’s every chance two seamers will be played.

“I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but at the minute there’s a little bit more grass on it. It looks a pretty good pitch.

“We always like to make a decision here the day before the Test begins because conditions can change, especially with the heat on it all day.”

One of England’s trio of young spinners – Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir – would make way if England change tack.

Hartley’s exploits in the first Test mean he is likely to play, giving the selectors a difficult decision between Ahmed and Bashir.

The decision may have been taken out of their hands if an issue with Ahmed’s visa had lingered but the Leicestershire leggie was present at training on Tuesday and is available for selection.

An England statement said: “There was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa. The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa. 

“The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days. He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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