England v India: Ollie Pope already 'in the zone' before Lord’s Test

Cricket | Steve James August 3 2018 5:00pm The Times Too many left-handers? No — just too few other options Steve James

Ed Smith spoke about Pope scoring 1,000 runs in just 15 matches as evidence of his promise, and the batsman was confident he can deliver against India if he gets to make a dream debut at Lord's. You hear stories of the greats of the game, people like Alastair Cook made his debut, I think he was 21.

20-year old Surrey batsman Ollie Pope has got a maiden call-up to the Test squad after a prolific domestic season with the bat.

"I've played with him since we were 14, 15 - as soon as he came over from Zimbabwe - and we've gone through the same path".

On the other end of the scenario, young Ollie Pope made his first class debut in previous year March and has been running a sensational form for Surrey since then, averaging 85 in the County Championship. I think it's the fearlessness.

However, it was a spell playing grade cricket in Sydney last winter that has had the biggest effect on Pope.

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Pope, 20, is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in English cricket now and he has already scored 1012 runs in 15 first-class games for Surrey.

"From that moment I hardly remember the conversation, all I remember is it was a good one".

Pope, asked if he would be ready to bat at No 4, replied: "If required, yes". I was game ready from the start, I found a bit of form and my method for now. Just being on your own two feet and getting to know your strengths and weaknesses, learning from your dismissals and the games you play well in and score runs in.

Bayliss said the only problem he and England captain Joe Root faced in handling Curran, whose brother Tom has also played global cricket, was preventing him getting frustrated when not directly involved in the action. "I know we've got a lad, Will Jacks, in the year below, he's off to Perth so hopefully the counties will still keep supporting it because it was a top drawer thing for me to do". He also made an unbeaten fifty for the second-string England Lions in a 253-run win over India A in a first-class fixture at Worcester last month. "Especially against this Indian side. You can't just premeditate with him", he said.

The last time England were at Lord's against Pakistan in May, Pope spent the first day of the Test around the team to get a feel for the global set-up. "The way he played last week has given me confidence that I can do it too and it's nice to do it with him".

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