Ollie Pope praises Ben Stokes as England skipper set for 100th Test

The prolific all-rounder will become just the 16th English player to achieve this feat

By Web Desk
February 13, 2024
Ollie Pope (L) and Ben Stokes (R) walk off the ground. — AFP

England’s right-handed batter Ollie Pope hailed Ben Stokes saying that the prominent all-rounder has “changed the game” ahead of the third Test against India which will be played in Rajkot.

In addition to being England's key player and delivering under pressure, Stokes' dynamic leadership style alongside Brendon McCullum has been pivotal in the team's success in recent red-ball tours.

Stokes has led England to victory in 14 out of 21 Tests, boasting a win percentage of 66.67, the best among those who have captained England in 10 or more matches in the format. Pope acknowledged Stokes' transformative impact.

"It's unbelievable," Pope said. "For anyone to play 100 Tests is an unbelievable achievement. He's had his highs and lows but what he's done since he's been captain has been amazing.

"Stokesy is not someone who likes it being all about him. He doesn't need those accolades but away from the ground I'm sure we'll celebrate him, get around him and think of something to do. He's changed the game in a lot of respects. He just has a way of bringing out the best in himself when the team needs him the most.

"There have been so many unbelievable memories and hopefully he can play 100 more. He's been great to watch and hopefully there'll be many more special moments in his career."

At 32 years old, Stokes will earn his 100th Test cap, joining a prestigious group of English cricketers. His batting average of 36.34 and bowling average of 32.07 are testament to his greatness as he is now just three wickets away from reaching 200 Test wickets.

Stokes' highest Test score of 258 against South Africa in 2016, achieved in 198 balls, remains one of England's greatest innings. It was both England's fastest double century and the quickest 250-plus score in Test history.

With 13 Test centuries and four five-wicket hauls, Stokes has been instrumental in England's success in chasing fourth-innings targets over 250. Under his captaincy, England achieved a national-record chase of 378 against India at Edgbaston in 2022, as well as three of their top eight largest-ever chases.