Ed Smith, the national selector for the England cricket team, has recently clarified why he had opted to keep Dawid Malan out of the second Test against India at Lord’s.
Cricket news: Dawid Malan was dropped from the second Test at Lord’s after underperforming at Edgbaston
Malan had a pretty nervy outing in the first Test at Edgbaston as he scored just 8 and 20 in both the innings and also dropped three catches in the slip cordon, one of which was of opposition skipper Virat Kohli in the first innings where the skipper eventually ended up getting 149.
Smith has made some pretty big calls recently, as he brought back Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid, two white-ball specialists into the red-ball game.
Now he has decided to give the 20-year-old rookie from Surrey, Ollie Pope, a chance to feature in the Lord’s Test in place of Dawid Malan, while the latter has been thought to be best for overseas conditions.
While the first day at Lord’s was washed away, Smith has explained in detail why he chose to keep a batsman out of the playing XI who has scored a maiden Test hundred at Perth during the Ashes and has been England’s middle-order discovery in the disappointing 4-0 loss.
"[Malan] has had a full calendar year of Test cricket and he knows where he is at," Smith said. "He showed with that excellent Test hundred at Perth that he can play very well on the international stage.
"Not that many people score hundreds at Perth … not that many Englishmen have looked as comfortable at the WACA as Dawid did.
"Moving forward we talked about how his strengths could come into play, but in no way did I mean that line as an implicit criticism, he has scored over 10,000 first-class runs in England and the guy has shown he can play very well on different surfaces.
"But in an England shirt, one of the things he has done distinctively is play very well in very alien conditions so I wanted to reaffirm to him that one of the things we are looking at is having the right players for the right conditions, which is not horses for courses.
"I bridle at that sense because you wouldn't play someone who can only play well at one ground. That is not going to happen. We are not interested in going back to picking one player for one Test."
After a promising winter, Malan had an pretty poor average of 20.23 in eight Tests and his top score was 65 against West Indies, an innings which was careful but not fluent like the 140 in Perth or a fifty in New Zealand.
"With Dawid we talked it all through, the decision and his game – we played together [for Middlesex], I have seen him whack it out of the park in training – but it also is about constructive feedback to give them the best chance to come back into contention. And he remains in contention.
"Out of it all, the most important thing is that anyone in the England side should feel very comfortable approaching me and James Taylor. We are a little bit closer in age than has sometimes been the case – it's not everything – but we are around. I am aware of giving them space but if anyone wants to chat about selection, I will relish those conversations. And I have had those with selections that predate me too, guys who are looking to come back in."
As the first day at Lord’s was washed out, Ollie Pope will now have to wait until Friday morning to get the debut Test cap. MCC will also have to refund up to GBP 2 million for the tickets as the entire day was lost due to weather, a circumstance which happened since 2001.