England head coach Chris Silverwood is optimistic about the services of wicket-keeper-batsman Ollie Pope and all-rounder Moeen Ali for the first test against India. Both players had missed the test series of two games against Sri Lanka. Moeen had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to England’s departure from the UK, but sent a positive test for coronavirus after the team arrived at Sri Lanka’s airport in Hambantota. On the other hand, Pope is recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained in September during the test series against Pakistan. The England and Wales Cricket Board said last week that Pope will be added to the squad when he is declared fit.
“I hope Ollie can throw his hat in the ring for that first test. The sooner we can get it back, the better it is for us,” said Silverwood.
Moeen was released from quarantine and had joined his teammates in Galle after a lengthy isolation period on January 16.
“Moeen should also be available for the first test. He has been through everything he has to endure and is making good progress,” said Silverwood.
The England cricket team and staff arrived in Chennai on Wednesday for the Test series against India. The first and second tests will be played in Chennai from February 5.
The crew led by Joe Root will undergo a mandatory six-day quarantine period under the COVID-19 protocol. Ben Stokes, Rory Burns and Jofra Archer arrived in Chennai on Monday and they have already started their quarantine period.
On Monday, England had defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the second Test to win the series 2-0. Root got both Man of the Match and Series for his impeccable form with the bat.
England squad for the first two tests against India: Joe Root (Yorkshire) (Captain), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Dom Bess (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire) , Zak Crawley (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).
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