Ollie Pope Seek Home Comforts To Power England Revival
England has kissed a few frogs in their search for a world-class Test batter, but it appears that they have finally found their prince. It’s one thing for Ollie Pope to score against a strong defense. It’s another thing entirely to have made them with the match, series, and possibly his career on the line. Only time will tell, but it appears that England has found a specialist top-order batter who could and should have a long career at this level for the first time since Joe Root’s arrival.
Best Young England Batter
More than that, Pope serves as a sort of barometer for the English system. By some measures, he appears to be the best young England batter of his generation. In first-class cricket, he averages 69.02 for Surrey and, ridiculously, 101.80 at home in those matches. The concern for English cricket is that if such a player fails to make it at the international level, it raises the question of whether anyone else can. It’s been nearly a decade since Root batted in his first Test against India in Nagpur. Root’s influence on Pope is palpable.
As a result, he’s made a few technical changes. Pope batted on middle instead of off-stump guard, as he had done earlier in the season. He’s found a way to bring his bat down straight while maintaining decent balance at the crease with a minor back-and-across trigger movement (to the seamers, at least), a slightly open front shoulder, and a front foot pointing towards mid-off. He still tends to over-balance to the offside, but he appears to know where his off-stump is and has a variety of strokes to score all over the wicket. He has all of the ingredients for a successful career.