ngland batter Ollie Pope has backed Harry Brook to shine as he makes the long-awaited step up to Test level when he makes his debut at the Kia Oval on Thursday.
Brook is the beneficiary of Jonny Bairstow’s remarkable misfortune, after he broke his leg playing golf last Friday, likely ending his year. That allows Brook to debut in his favoured No5 spot, with three Tests coming up in Pakistan later this year after the series decider against South Africa this week.
Brook has long been ear-marked for a debut, having spent all summer in England squads and already made his T20I bow. He is averaging more than 100 for Yorkshire this season, and made 140 for England Lions against South Africa at Canterbury last month.
“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.”
In Bairstow, England lose an in-form batter who has made six Test centuries this year.
“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.
“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.”