India v England: Zak Crawley out of first two Tests with sprained wrist

Crawley averaged 38.50 in 10 tests

Conference location: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai Date: 5-9 Feb Time: 04:00 GMT
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English batsman Zak Crawley was excluded from the first two Tests against India after he sprained a wrist in a “freak” accident.

The 23-year-old slipped onto a marble floor in front of the changing room during training on Tuesday.

Crawley, who opened England in January’s 2-0 win of the Test series in Sri Lanka, was due to face the returning Rory Burns at three o’clock.

Ollie Pope could replace Crawley after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Dan Lawrence, who made his debut in Sri Lanka when he was five, is also controversial.

In England, all-rounder Ben Stokes and pace bowler Jofra Archer are also returning to the four-test series that starts on Friday.

Captain Joe Root, who will play his 100th Test in Chennai, said England had made arrangements outside the dressing room.

“We only dropped a few towels initially and have since dropped something more substantial,” he said. “We know we have to be careful.

“They feel like players who pick up those injuries – do whatever they can to get ready and something as freaky as that can have such a big impact.”

On the Pope’s return, Root told BBC Sport: “It’s a really exciting time to see him back in the group.

“We have so many different options to choose from when it comes to the team. We’re going to look at the field and try to make the right call.”

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board said: “The scan results confirmed that Crawley injured his right wrist, spraining the joint and causing localized inflammation.

“The English medical team will continue to evaluate their progress over the next few weeks.”

India aims for “vital wicket” from root

India captain Virat Kohli said Roots is the “vital wicket” his team will be aiming for.

Kohi and Root are part of the so-called “Big Four” – a group of leading batsmen in the world that includes New Zealander Kane Williamson and Australian Steve Smith.

Kohli was part of the Indian team when Root made his test debut in Nagpur in 2012 at the age of 21.

“I have fond memories of how Joe got into the international scene and he probably had a head start on the other three in that group of four,” said Kohli.

“He’s someone who has really become that English eyelash face over the years.

“The talk of the ‘Big Four’ is in the media, but as an international cricketer you understand impact players when you see them, and Joe has been one of them for a while.

“When we play England, Joe is always the crucial wicket that we want to see early in the innings.

“It’s a compliment to his game, the longevity and consistency over so many years. Hopefully in the future we can sit down and talk for a long time about how our travels went and how we played each other over so many years.”

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