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Harry Brook: Ollie Pope believes Yorkshire batter has the game to star at Test level for England

An injury suffered by Jonny Bairstow means Harry Brook could make his Test debut for England in the deciding match of the series against South Africa at The Oval; watch England against South Africa live on Sky Sports from 10am on Thursday

Last Updated: 06/09/22 3:21pm


Harry Brook has been a prolific run-scorer in the County Championship in 2022

Ollie Pope believes Harry Brook can take his free-scoring form in county cricket to the Test arena if the right-hander is named in place of Jonny Bairstow for England’s decisive Test against South Africa.

Brook, who made his international T20 debut for England in the West Indies in January, is averaging 107.44 from 12 innings with the bat for Yorkshire in Division One of the LV= County Championship so far in 2022.

Jonny Bairstow’s injury has opened the door for Brook to make his Test bow and fellow batter Pope, who played age-group international cricket alongside the former England U19 captain, is in no doubt the 23-year-old can make an impact if selected for the third Test at The Oval, which starts on Thursday live on Sky Sports.

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“I’ve been on U19 tours with Harry, and I’ve played with him since I was 18 years old, and he’s a seriously good player,” Pope said.

“He’s obviously been in ridiculous form this year and he’s 100 per cent got the game to go out and take that into Test cricket as well.

“He’s got the mindset, he loves batting and he’s all cricket as well, so I’m excited for him if he does get that opportunity this week. He’s a top player and an exciting prospect.”

Bairstow was ruled out of the final Test of the three-match series against South Africa and the upcoming T20 World Cup after suffering a freak leg injury while playing a round of golf.

Highlights from day three of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford as England romped to an innings victory over South Africa

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Highlights from day three of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford as England romped to an innings victory over South Africa

Highlights from day three of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford as England romped to an innings victory over South Africa

The 32-year-old right-hander had been in stellar form for England this year, leading the way in Test cricket worldwide in 2022 with 1,061 runs to his name.

Pope made no secret of the fact Bairstow will be missed, yet is confident the rest of the team can step up in his absence.

“It’s disappointing for us all,” Pope said. “A freak incident took place and he’s had an amazing summer.

“He’s been amazing to watch and he’s amazing around the lads, but it also provides an opportunity for whoever is coming in, so that’s an exciting chance as well.

Harry Brook could make his Test debut for England in Jonny Bairstow's absence

Harry Brook could make his Test debut for England in Jonny Bairstow’s absence

“We’re going to miss him, but at the same time, we’ve got enough guys who’ve been around a long time to feed off each other. The energy has been so good around the lads as well, so I’m sure we’ll make up for his lost voice in the field as well.

“But it’s gutting he’s not here, it would be a great way for him to finish the summer as well after how he’s played, but we’ll make up for it, I’m sure.”

England head into the final match of the series against South Africa buoyed by an innings and 85-run victory over the tourists at Old Trafford last time out.

That followed an innings and 12-run loss for the hosts in the first Test at Lord’s and Pope is aiming for Ben Stokes’ side to ride the wave of confidence from that victory in Manchester into the decider.

“We’ve shown in the last two games cricket is a funny game because it can swing quickly and can be defined early on in the game as well,” Pope said.

“It does help winning that last one and the confidence is high among the lads. We’ve had a good summer so far, so hopefully, we can make it one more [win].”



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