Ben Stokes was dropped from the England squad for the upcoming second Test against India at Lord's. The dynamic all-rounder is due for a hearing in court later this week in a case which dates back to 2017. The 27-year-old was accused of punching two individuals outside a pub in Bristol.
His absence is expected to a major concern for England, given his brilliant display in the first Test. Stokes failed to fire with the bat, but was brilliant with the ball, grabbing six wickets in the match, which included four in the second innings.
Chris Woakes, who returns from injury, was announced as his replacement. And England coach Trevor Bayliss believes Stokes won't be missed much should the other players step up. He was quoted by ICC as saying, "I’ve got no concerns about it. It means that someone else has got to take up the slack. Hopefully winning this one and having that confidence will be a good thing."
England announced their 13-man squad for the second Test on Sunday. Apart from inclusion of Woakes, there is also a maiden Test call-up for 20-year-old Ollie Pope, who replaces Dawid Malan after his poor showing in the first Test.
Speaking about the selection of Pope as well as the exclusion of Stokes, England national selector Ed Smith had said, "Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first class career. He has reached a 1000 first class runs in just 15 matches and is the first division’s stand-out batsman this season with 684 runs at 85. The selection panel believe that Ollie’s performances and character suggest he is well suited to international cricket.
"Dawid Malan drops out of the squad for Lord’s. Dawid has not found his best rhythm this season, and it may be that his game is better suited to overseas conditions. Ben Stokes is unavailable, but Chris Woakes, with some extra matches and practices under his belt, can now return to the England squad after injury."