England Ollie Pope is an up-and-coming wicketkeeper-batsman with all the traits of the modern-day cricketer: innovative, fit, agile, and powerful. The 20-year-old cricketer rose through the ranks of age-group cricket and reached the peak of his powers in the 2017 season for Surrey, excelling with the bat in all three formats. In the era of the shorter formats, Pope’s intelligent batting in T20 has been lauded all over the English circuit. Despite the eye-catching feats in the shorter, glitzier formats, Pope has a solid base technique which has been exhibited in the county championship with buckets of runs against the red ball and a perfect trigger movement which has made him a rather assured player against the moving ball.
England has welcomed back a fit-again Ollie Pope after he recovered from a shoulder injury but Zak Crawley’s participation in the first Test in Chennai is in doubt after he injured his wrist.
“Zak Crawley did not train today at England’s practice session in Chennai. He slipped outside the dressing room yesterday and has injured his right wrist,” the tourists’ batting consultant Jonathan Trott said on Wednesday.
“We are waiting on the results of scans and will know more tomorrow, ahead of our final practice.
Middle order batsman Pope, who injured his left shoulder against Pakistan in August, had been practising with the squad at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium which hosts the first two matches, starting with the opening Test on Friday.
“The England medical team are satisfied that he is available for selection,” the team said in a statement.
Trott reminded England of the importance of posting a big first-innings total in the four-Test series.
England will need their batting unit to fire against India, who are eyeing a 13th consecutive Test series victory on home soil.
“Big runs early on in the first innings, like anywhere else, but in India, it’s really, really important,” former Test batsman Trott told a video conference.
“Playing spin and having your own method, and being able to execute that under pressure is probably the most important thing.”
But Trott also acknowledged it would be a mistake to underestimate the Indian pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah.
“Certainly we saw their pace attack in Australia did really well and they’re very talented, all-round with the ball … It’s crucially important to prepare for both.”
India are on a high after their 2-1 series victory in Australia but vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane ruled out any complacency as they chase a spot in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship against New Zealand.
“Not at all. We know every series, every game, is really important,” said Rahane, who led India in the last three matches in Australia after Virat Kohli returned home to attend the birth of his daughter.
“What happened in Australia was really special but that’s (in the) past. We are thinking about this series and taking one game at a time.
“What we learnt from Australia after losing the test match in Adelaide and how we came back is all about staying in the moment.
“We respect England, they are a very good team. They did really well in Sri Lanka. So we have to play good cricket, back our strengths, and play as a team.”