- 'He bats, bowls and he's a leader in the field so it is a bit of a hole.'
The expected loss of all-rounder Ben Stokes from the third Test against Pakistan has left "a bit of a hole" in the England team, coach Trevor Bayliss has said ahead of the match at Edgbaston, starting next Wednesday.
Stokes, making his first appearance after undergoing a knee surgery in May, sustained a calf injury in England's series-levelling win against Pakistan at Old Trafford in the second Test. He is expected to be out of action for six weeks.
Fast bowlers Steven Finn and Jake Ball, along with leg-spinner Adil Rashid, are likely to be the candidates to fill the vacant spot.
"(Stokes) is a big player for us, he adds a lot of spark to the team. He bats, bowls and he's a leader in the field so it is a bit of a hole," Bayliss said.
"But someone like Chris Woakes has done brilliantly so far this season so we are lucky in that aspect."
James Vince has averaged only 18.57 in his five Tests and questions are being raised over his place in the squad. Bayliss urged for patience with the 25-year-old.
"I don't see any reason to panic at the moment," Bayliss said. "But as I said after the last game, runs will count. It doesn't matter what you look like getting them... it gets down to how many runs and how many wickets.
"I'd like to see people given a little bit more of an extra go rather than one (game). If there's someone else who warrants a place to replace a player like that... I'm sure it will be discussed."
Image: Ben Stokes
Photograph: Jason Cairnduff Livepic/Reuters