In January 2019, I noted that an England cricket team took to the field which included all three of Stokes, Woakes and Foakes. But that was a mere warm-up game, against something called the West Indies President’s XI, so it hardly counted. However, on Saturday first thing in the morning our time, the second test of the four India v England tests looks like it might feature this same England trio. Wicket keeper Buttler and veteran quick bowler Anderson, both having played so very well in the first test, have both been dropped, as in “rotated”. Foakes is in for Buttler. And instead of Anderson and Broad both playing, Broad is in, plus one other specialist quick. This would have been Archer, but Archer is damaged. So, also included in the England twelve, one or other of them to replace Archer, are quick bowlers Olly Stone and … Woakes.
England’s batting is a worry, despite all the talk about how they scored ten out of ten in the first game. Its greatest current strength, Root, is also its greatest current weakness. What if Root fails to make about two hundred, as has been his habit in the last few games, and instead gets out in the England first innings for a small score, like under fifty? That could cost England the match. So, England will want to give the rest of their batting as much chance as they can to do well. Woakes is a much better batter than Stone. Stone, meanwhile, is a bit of an unknown quantity as a bowler. Woakes is not as quick as Archer, or Stone, but he is a good bowler, and I think he will play. Which means that the Stokes, Woakes, Foakes combination, this time in a real cricket match, is a real possibility.
If so, this will be one of cricket’s better recent joakes.
LATER: Not to be. Stone plays, rather than Woakes. And we’ll soon see if that works, because India have won the toss and, of course, will bat first.
Stone gets Shubman Gill for a duck, with his third ball! India 0-1.
What do I know?