Ollie Pope. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)LONDON: England batsman Ollie Pope says Jonny Bairstow, one of the team's top performers of the summer, will be missed in the decisive third Test against South Africa at The Oval, but has backed Harry Brook to rise to the occasion if selected.
Uncapped Brook is expected to come into the middle order to replace Bairstow, who was injured while playing golf last week.
"It's disappointing for us all," Pope told reporters on Tuesday. "A freak incident took place and he's had an amazing summer.
"He's been amazing to watch and he's amazing around the lads, but it also provides an opportunity for whoever is coming in, so that's an exciting chance as well.
"We're going to miss him, but at the same time, we've got enough guys who've been around a long time to feed off each other. The energy has been so good around the lads as well, so I'm sure we'll make up for his lost voice in the field."
Ben Duckett has been brought into the squad for the series decider that starts on Thursday.
Yet with Brook having waited patiently for his chance, it is likely he will be selected, especially after scoring 140 off 170 balls for England Lions against the tourists ahead of the series.
"I've been on Under-19 tours with Harry, and I've played with him since I was 18 years old, and he's a seriously good player," Pope said.
"He's obviously been in ridiculous form this year and he's 100 percent got the game to go out and take that into Test cricket as well.
"He's got the mindset, he loves batting and he's all cricket as well, so I'm excited for him if he does get that opportunity this week. He's a top player and an exciting prospect."