Buttler in doubt after injury ahead of England’s second Test against New Zealand

Jos Buttler is a doubt ahead of the second Test against New Zealand after the wicketkeeper-batsman tweaked his back on the eve of the Hamilton encounter.

England captain Joe Root revealed Buttler sustained the injury while training in the gym on Thursday morning, which has put Ollie Pope on standby to take the gloves.

Root said at his pre-match media conference: “Jos has tweaked his back in the gym, we’ll have to find out a little bit more information on that throughout today and tomorrow and see where he’s at.”

Ollie Pope, pictured, is on standby to take the gloves if Jos Buttler is unavailable (Adam Davy/PA)
Ollie Pope, pictured, is on standby to take the gloves if Jos Buttler is unavailable (Adam Davy/PA)

If Buttler is unable to take part, Kent batsman Zak Crawley could be handed his Test debut while bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes could be recalled.

Root added: “There’s a number of different combinations we could go with and I think a lot of that will rely on the surface.

“Trying to find the best combination which would take 20 wickets and then balancing that in terms of getting the batting where we want it to be. It could be an all-rounder, we’ll see.”

Buttler had only just returned to the role, taking over from Jonny Bairstow for the innings-and-65-run defeat at Mount Maunganui, which gave New Zealand an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.

While Bairstow had stayed on after the Twenty20 series as injury cover for Joe Denly, the Yorkshireman has now returned home, meaning Pope, who has only kept in five of his 33 first-class matches, will be behind the stumps if Buttler is ruled out.

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