England batter Ollie Pope has said that under the leadership of Test skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, he feels more consistent and has stopped fearing getting out.
Since Stokes took over the reins in the longer format, Pope was promoted to bat at number 3 and retained the wicketkeeping gloves over a fit Ben Foakes for the series against Pakistan, which England is currently leading 2-0 with one more Test to go.
“I feel a new player at the minute, personally, to what I felt in the past playing for England. I feel I have been a bit more consistent, I have stopped fearing getting out,” the 24-year-old old Pope was quoted as saying by Sky Sports ahead of the final Test of the series in Karachi, which starts on Saturday.
“The two guys at the top have helped me grow, not confidence but the freedom to express myself and how I want to play. It has been great for me, hopefully, I keep that consistency,” he added.
Under the Stokes-McCullum leadership this year, Pope has scored 643 runs in nine Tests across 18 innings at an average of 40.18. This also includes two centuries and four fifties, with the best score of 145.
Pope has been extremely composed behind the stumps, having clinched 10 catches and one stumping in the first two Tests against Pakistan. He filled up for an ill Foakes during the first Rawalpindi Test, but was given the gloves for Multan as well.
Despite his responsibilities as a keeper, Pope’s focus remains to make the number three spot his own.
“I would still love to tie down No 3, make that my own. That will be my primary focus,” said Pope.
“Obviously, different conditions, somewhere like New Zealand, we might go with a more regular team – that is not for me to decide, my main priority is to keep churning out runs at number three,” he added.
Harry Brook, who has made an instant impact in the Test arena with two tons and a fifty in his first three matches, said that the style of cricket currently played by England has helped him make an easy transition to the longer format.
“The lads just say go out there and do what you are doing for your county side, and I think I have done really,” Brook said.
“I have gone out there and I think I slot into this team fairly well with the way I have played, I am generally quite an aggressive player who always looks to score and put the bowler under pressure.”
“So, it suits my natural game, and it has been quite easy to slot in, and the lads have been great. So it’s been good fun,” concluded Brook.
The Yorkshire batter has earned heavy praises from his captain Stokes, who at the end of the third Test, likened the 23-year-old to star Indian batter Virat Kohli for his attributes across all formats of the game. (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.