Shaheen's absence good for England, but gives no added advantage: Ollie Pope

Pitches to dictate England's strategy against Pakistan, says England cricketer Ollie Pope

By Faizan Lakhani
November 28, 2022
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: England's cricketer Ollie Pope says the side's brand of cricket is known to everyone and that’s the way they will continue to play, but added that pitches will also dictate their strategy during the series against Pakistan.

Speaking exclusively to The News in Rawalpindi, Pope said that reverse swing in Pakistan will play a major role in the three match Test series.


“It's the way we clearly want to play. I think there's no there's no hiding behind that. The world knows that's how we want to play our cricket,” said Pope when asked about England’s approach in Test cricket.

“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.

The 24-year-old cricketer said that absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi in Pakistan’s bowling attack may be something good for England batters but it doesn’t give the visitors any added advantage as Pakistan has very good bowlers to fill the void.

He added that reverse swing may be a challenge for his team in Pakistan.

“They've got some they've got some good quick but from a batting point of view, they've got some good quick bowlers, they've got some mystery spin. And obviously the reverse swing out here plays a part too. So, I think they're probably going to be the main challenges for us. But hopefully we can match them and hopefully be better,” he said.

“I wouldn't say an edge,” the England batter said when asked if absence of Shaheen provides England an advantage.

“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 bows as well, like Haris Rauf and Nasim Shah, and some guys who are new on the block as well and there'll be 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 their side as well,” he said.

Ollie Pope had scored 146 in practice match against England Lions at Abu Dhabi before coming to Pakistan, he had also scored 136 in his last first class match while had two half centuries in test series against South Africa.

The middle order batter said that he is looking forward to continue his form and score more runs for his side.

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

He also praised the arrangements in Pakistan and said that he has enjoyed his time since arrival and is excited for rest of the trip.

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

“The crowds looked amazing, I think chatting to the guys in the T 20. They 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, hopefully a packed house here.” he concluded.