India vs England: Oliver Pope is confident of playing well if given chance in Lord's Test
Young England batsman Oliver Pope says his tender age should not be an issue, if he is picked to play in the second Test against India at Lords, starting Thursday
Young England batsman Oliver Pope says his tender age should not be an issue, if he is picked to play in the second Test against India at Lord's, starting Thursday.
The 20-year-old has scored 684 runs for Surrey in the county championship this season and was called up to the England squad to replace left-handed Dawid Malan.
"Everyone always says if you're good enough, your old enough. It's nice hearing stories that you are not the first one to play when young or after not a huge amount of games. Looking back on people like Sachin Tendulkar, he was 16 or 17 (when he debuted for India). He's quite a good person to listen to in terms of that. I think it's the fearlessness," Pope said.
"You also hear of the greats of the game, like Alastair Cook who made his debut when he was 20. So it's not like it hasn't been done before. Hopefully I take my chance. I feel confident in my game and ready for the next step. I think I've had a good season so far, and from the people I've spoken to, they've given me the confidence in my own game to take the next step," he added.
Talking about the moment of his maiden call-up for the England Test squad, he said, "I found out on Sunday morning. I was on the way to play for Surrey in a T20 at Essex. I had a flat tyre the day before so had to get a lift with a mate. At the time I was in the car on my own. I saw Ed Smith's (England national selector) name pop up, and had an idea what it may be."
"From that moment I hardly remember the conversation, just that it was a good one. I called my parents for a quick chat, they were buzzing. I read an article or two that I was tagged in on Twitter, clicked out of curiosity. I didn't really take them in, because you don't want to get your hopes up too high or you'll get let down. I had an idea."
Pope's inclusion is being seen as a ploy to counter Indian off-spinner R Ashwin, as the youngster -- a right-hander -- is considered a good player of spin.
"He's not your regular off-spin. He bowls a ball that spins away and one that spins back in. You play him like a normal off-spinner, but you've just got to watch him a bit closer out of the hand. You need to know what balls coming down at you - you can't just premeditate an off-spinner like him," he said, about the prospect of facing Ashwin.
"That's probably the main difference. I'll have a closer look before the game, if picked, and I'll have my game plan before. Not a massive difference but just got to look a bit closer I think." Asked if he would be ready to bat at number four after batting at number six in domestic cricket, Pope said, "If required, yes, especially against this Indian side. They bowl a lot of spin, so I don't think there's a massive difference.
"When I bat at 6, I can be in (at the crease) in the tenth over or for the second new ball. Four to six region, I don't think there is a massive difference in the way you play."