Ollie Pope identifies England’s main challenge in Pakistan

Two teams will play a three-match Test series in December

November 28, 2022
Ollie Pope has been in good form in the recent past — AFP

RAWALPINDI: England’s cricketer Ollie Pope has said that reverse swing in Pakistan will play the main part in the three-match Test series, which will be the main challenge for his team.

Speaking exclusively to Geo News in Rawalpindi, the 24-year-old cricketer said that absence of Sheen Shah Afridi in Pakistan’s bowling attack may be something good for England batters but it doesn’t give the visitors any added advantage as the home side has very good bowlers to fill the void.

“They've got some good quicks but from a batting point of view and they've got some mystery spin. And obviously the reverse swing out here plays a part too. So, I think they're probably going to be the main challenges for us. But hopefully we can match them and hopefully be better,” he said.

“I wouldn't say an edge,” the England batter said when asked if absence of Shaheen provides England an advantage.

“Shaheen is obviously an amazing bowler, he's a very special bowler with good pace and good skills. But we know Pakistan has got some other talented bows as well, like Haris Rauf and Nasim Shah, and some guys who are new on the block as well and they'll be keen and excited to get going. So, it's obviously a good thing for us that Shaheen is not playing but at the same time they've got other strengths their side as well,” he said.

Pope also said that England’s aggressive brand of cricket is known to everyone and that’s the way they would continue to play cricket, but he added that pitches will also dictate their strategy during series against Pakistan.

“It's the way we clearly want to play. The world knows that's how we want to play our cricket,” said Ollie Pope when asked about England’s approach in Test cricket.

“The pitches will dictate slightly, how positive you want to be sometimes, if the pitches are better you can try and bat a bit more time but at the same time it's a game where you want to absorb some pressure and then throw some punches back as well, when the time's right, so that's the main thing,” he said.

Ollie Pope had scored 146 in practice match against England Lions at Abu Dhabi before coming to Pakistan. He had also scored 136 in his last first-class match, while also notching up two half-centuries in Test series against South Africa.

The middle-order batter said that he is looking forward to continue his form and score more runs for his side.

“I try not to set too many goals numbers wise. Obviously, this is a new place for me I've never had batted here before. So, it's trying to adapt as quickly as I can and obviously put in contributions for the team and hopefully in a match-winning side as well. So that's the main importance for me,” he said.

“I've been feeling good. I'm in a good place with the bat. So, fingers crossed, I can bring that form here. Obviously like I said, it's different conditions. So, I need to adapt my game slightly. I feel good within myself and if you're playing well hopefully the runs will come if you keep trusting the process,” he said.

He also praised the arrangements in Pakistan and said that he has enjoyed his time since arrival and is excited for rest of the trip.

He also shared what he heard from his colleagues about crowd in Pakistan during the T20 series.

“The crowds looked amazing. I have been chatting to the guys in the T20 series. They said the crowds are amazing. And I can't wait to see packed houses here full of Pakistani fans and hopefully there'll be some English fans dotted around as well, but I can't wait to hear the noise as well. So yeah, I can't wait to see, hopefully, a packed house here,” he concluded.

Faizan Lakhani is Deputy Editor (Sports) at Geo News.