Won’t complain if pitches spin from ball one; it’s about finding a method to combat it: Ollie Pope

January 13, 2024
Ahead of England’s five-match Test series that starts in Hyderabad on January 25,

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Ahead of England’s five-match Test series that starts in Hyderabad on January 25, vice-captain and top-order batter Ollie Pope said his team won’t be complaining if the pitches in the series spin from the first ball and added that it is all about finding a method to combat the spin challenge in the sub-continent.

Pope was a member of England’s squad which came to India in 2021. After winning the opening Test in Chennai, the visitors’ lost their way to lose the series 3-1, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel running through the batting order.

“There will be a lot of outside noise. And pitches can be a massive talking point. But you have to remember the two teams are playing on the exact same wicket, so we just need to be as well equipped as we can.”

“In England we might leave more grass on the pitch to suit our amazing seamers, so it’s no surprise if India do the same to suit their spinners. And I actually think low-scoring Test matches (where ball has the edge over bat) are pretty amazing to watch.”

“I saw a fair bit of South Africa versus India and it was great: guys scoring seriously tough runs and the ball flying through. The scores could be similar in India but if the pitches spin from ball one we won’t be complaining. It’s about finding a method to combat it,” said Pope to The Guardian before joining England’s pre-tour preparatory camp in Abu Dhabi.

Pope struggled to get going in Indian conditions, managing to score only 153 runs in eight innings at an average of 19.13. He feels one needs to be attacking against the spinners in England’s ultra-attacking style of play will be key to unsettle their lengths, which is also one of his crucial learnings from 2021 tour.

“We had some young guys on that tour. Myself, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes – it was our first India tour and we were probably taken by surprise when it turned from ball one (after the first Test). But if we had read the pitch well enough and quickly enough.”

“I look at the guys who were most successful, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant, they didn’t rotate strike a huge amount. That’s tough to do on those pitches, you can’t just work spin around like in England. You need a really solid defence but also four and six options, to hit the spinners off their length.”

“The danger ball last time was the one that went straight on – the ones that spun almost spun too much. It’s like in England when the (seaming) ball goes past your outside edge, you play it well with soft hands or miss it. It’s a case of being at peace with being beaten – that’s almost a win if you’re covering (lbw and bowled),” he concluded.

–IANS

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