Monday Nov 28 2022

Pak vs Eng: Dealing with reverse swing main challenge for Ollie Pope

Ollie Pope reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after losing his wicket during a Test match between England and South Africa at the Lords cricket ground in London. — AFP/File
Ollie Pope reacts as he walks back to the pavilion after losing his wicket during a Test match between England and South Africa at the Lord's cricket ground in London. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: English cricketer Ollie Pope believes that reverse swing in Pakistan, which will play an important part in the three-match Test series, will be the main challenge for his team.

Speaking to Geo News, Pope said that England’s 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 against Pakistan.

“It's the way we clearly want to play and I think there's no hiding behind that, the world knows that's how we want to play our cricket,” said Pope.

“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.

Pope noted that Pakistan’s fast bowlers and mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed along with reverse swing will be the main challenge for the English side.

However, the 24-year-old cricketer believes that Sheen Shah Afridi’s absence may prove to be fruitful for his team.

“I wouldn't say an edge. 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 bowlers 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 on their side as well,” he said.

Pope had scored 146 in a practice match against England Lions at Abu Dhabi before coming to Pakistan, he had also scored 136 in his last First-Class match along with the two half-centuries he scored in the Test series against South Africa.

“I try not to set too many goals number-wise. Obviously, this is a new place for me I've never 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.

The English team is touring Pakistan for the first time since 2005 amid strict security, for which Pope was all praises.

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

“Chatting to the guys [that participated] in the T20 [series] 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.