England opener Jason Roy is a doubtful starter for the Headingley Test starting Thursday after a blow to his headduring training while receiving throwdowns from Marcus Trescothick. The blow was cushioned by the stem guard which Roy had worn and he cleared the assessment immediately. But he is set to be tested again on the morning of the match.
It is highly expected that Roy would be fit for the clash but England don’t want to take any chances and have called up young Ollie Pope as standby should Roy show any signs of late concussion. If Roy is ruled out, Pope, a middle-order batsman could slot in at no 4 with Joe Denly pushed to open alongside Rory Burns.
“I’m pretty confident Jason’s going to be fit,” Joe Root said. “He’s been monitored quite closely as you’d expect; there is a huge amount of attention around concussion at the minute. He’s undergone a couple of concussion tests so far and scored really well. So as it stands I fully expect him to be fit and ready to go.
“You can only make a change if it happens within a Test match not if it happens prior to it so, with that in mind, we will have to be absolutely sure Jason is fit and ready to go, but we are fully confident he will be.”
Concussions are watched very closely in Test cricket post the Philip Hughes incident. Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne underwent concussion tests during the Lord’s Test and the former was replaced by Labuschagne during the Test match as part of the new concussion substitute rules.
Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute at Lord’s. Teams are more aware of the consequences of a blow to the head now and there are stem guards and assessments conducted immediately to assess the batsman. It is no surprise that even with Roy batting with little discomfort post the incident, England called up Pope. This is likely to be the protocol followed by all teams from here on.
Pope is coming off the back of a sensational County Championship and a double hundred last week against Hampshire. In 28 first-class matches, Pope has 2,026 runs at an average of 59.58. He made his England debut last summer against India and played two Test matches.
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