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

Crawley averages 38.50 in 10 Tests
Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai Date: 5-9 Feb Time: 04:00 GMT
Coverage: Live text commentary plus analysis and debate on The Cricket Social on the BBC Sport website and app. Daily Test Match Special podcasts.

England batsman Zak Crawley has been ruled out of the first two Tests against India after spraining a wrist in a “freak” accident.

The 23-year-old slipped on a marble floor outside the changing room during Tuesday’s practice session.

Crawley, who opened in England’s 2-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka in January, was set to bat at three to accommodate the returning Rory Burns.

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

Dan Lawrence, who made his debut batting at five in Sri Lanka, is also in contention.

England also have all-rounder Ben Stokes and pace bowler Jofra Archer returning for the four-Test series, which begins on Friday.

Captain Joe Root, who will play his 100th Test in Chennai, said England have taken precautions outside the changing room.

“We initially just put some towels down and since then they’ve put something more substantial down,” he said. “We know we’ve got to be careful.

“You feel for players who pick these injuries up – doing everything they can to get ready, and something as freak as that can have such a big impact.”

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

“We have so many different options we can go with in terms of the team. We’ll have a look at the pitch and try and make the right call.”

An England and Wales Cricket Board statement read: “Scan results have confirmed that Crawley has jarred his right wrist, which has sprained the joint and led to local inflammation.

“The England medical team will continue to assess his progress over the next few weeks.”

India target ‘vital wicket’ of Root

India captain Virat Kohli said Root’s is the “vital wicket” his team will target.

Kohi and Root are part of the so-called ‘big four’ – a group of the leading batsmen in the world that includes New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Australia’s Steve Smith.

Kohli was part of the India side when Root – now 32 – made his Test debut as a 21-year-old in Nagpur in 2012.

“I have good memories of watching Joe come on to the international scene and he probably got off to a head start compared to the other three in that group of four,” said Kohli.

“He’s someone who has really become that face of England’s batting over the years.

“The talk of ‘big four’ is all created by 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 now.

“When we play England, Joe is always that vital wicket that we look to get early on in the innings.

“That is a compliment to his game, to the longevity and consistency over so many years. Hopefully in the future we can sit down and have a nice long chat about how our journeys have gone and playing each other over so many years.”

India’s dominance at home – the stats

  • India have won 29 and drawn five of their past 35 Tests at home, dating back to 2013. Their only loss in that period was a 333-run defeat by Australia at Pune in 2017.
  • India have not lost a home Test series since England’s 2-1 victory in 2012. India have won all 10 series since.
  • England lost 4-0 on their most recent trip to India, a five-Test series in 2016.
  • England have won four of their past five series against India in all conditions, including a 4-1 victory at home in 2018.
  • England have won their past five overseas Tests, their longest run since winning seven in a row from 1911 to 1914.
  • Joe Root will become the 15th man to play 100 Tests for England.
  • Root is one short of equalling Michael Vaughan’s record of 26 Test wins as England skipper.
  • Ishant Sharma is three wickets away from becoming the third India seamer to 300 in Test cricket, after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan.

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