Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes Ollie Pope should bat at No.6 on his Test debut against India at Lord’s.
Surrey wicket-keeper batsman Pope, 20, is averaging 85.50 from 10 innings this season in first-class cricket. He has been brought in as a replacement for Dawid Malan, who was dropped after a series of low scores post-Ashes.
Where Pope fits into England’s batting line-up is up for debate, given that he has never batted in the top four during his brief first-class career. But Vaughan believes it would be best for Pope to start in the lower-middle order.
“I think he should bat at six and push everyone up,” Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 live. “I would put [Jonny] Bairstow at No.4 and you could put [Jos] Buttler to five, quite easily. There are loads of options but I think the best place for the youngster [Pope] would be to go in and play the position he’s been playing for Surrey.”
Vaughan also had some technical advice for Jonny Bairstow, who despite having a positive start to the series exposed a potential weakness outside off-stump.
“Jonny has to find his tempo, I think he’s just lost that a little bit in Test match cricket,” Vaughan said. “He’s being a bit too frantic. I’d like to see him go over to off-stump just that little bit more. I saw him at Edgbaston, all three stumps were on offer. You don’t see many high-class players at Test match level that are offering all three stumps.
“Last year against South Africa he was further over to the off-stump. He’s almost batting in a one-day sense. In the white-ball game, he just stays leg-side and smashes it through the off-side – great. But in Test matches, you’ve got to get over a little bit more and cover your off-stump.”