The plot of The Terminator is that the machines send a cyborg back in time to kill Sarah Connor and the humans send Kyle Reese to stop it. The whole fate of humanity relies on Reese doing the job.
That’s the plan for saving the species. The whole plan is Kyle Reese turning up naked and stopping a near-indestructible literal killing machine. There isn’t even the kind of tokenistic Plan B you sometimes come up with in half a picosecond so that you can kid yourself you’re planning for all eventualities. Kyle Reese stops the Terminator or humanity becomes extinct.
Ed Smith and his selectorial cronies didn’t go to this extreme when selecting wicketkeepers for the New Zealand tour. They did the tokenistic Plan B thing instead. ‘Jos Buttler’s the wicketkeeper,’ they said, ‘and if Jos is injured, we’ll use Ollie Pope, because he’s also a wicketkeeper.’
No-one really bothered scrutinising that a great deal at the time, because there were only two Tests and Buttler was never going to get injured, so it didn’t really matter.
But then Jos Buttler – who very rarely keeps wicket himself – suddenly had to keep wicket for 201 overs in the first Test and entirely coincidentally suffered a back spasm a few days later.
Maybe by the time you read this he’ll have recovered. Or maybe Ollie Pope will be behind the sticks.
Back when we were thinking about some of the England team selection talking points ahead of this series, we took a look at Ollie Pope’s wicketkeeping stats and turns out he’s never stumped anyone.
When you’re discussing who’s actually a wicketkeeper and who’s a batsman who’s kept wicket a handful of times, one of the measures you could use is whether or not that person has ever stumped anyone. We’re sure Pope’s stumped batsmen in club and second XI games, but he’s never stumped anyone as a pro.
Ollie Pope has no pro stumpings and he is (probably) keeping wicket in a Test match.