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Ashes 2023: England have slightly different plans for Smith this time, says Ollie Pope
Vice-captain Ollie Pope claimed that England have come up with a different plan to combat Australian batter, Steve Smith, when the Ashes series starts next week.
Smith has an exemplary record against England and in English conditions. He made 774 runs at an average of 110.54, despite being struck on the head by Jofra Archer during the 2019 Ashes at Lord's.
The Aussie batter looked in superb touch in English conditions again at The Oval as he struck 121 in Australia's first innings of the World Test Championship final at The Oval.
England will take on Australia in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston from June 16, leaving Pope well aware of the threat. But the 25-year-old expressed confidence that England's bowlers are ready for Smith as they have worked out ways to bowl at him.
"There's also a lot of talented bowlers in our changing room who have worked out ways we can challenge him -- both edges as well. So I think that's probably going to be the main thing for us. Can't say too much but there's probably slightly different plans this time," Pope told British media.
"He's been an amazing player for a long time and had a lot of success in all different conditions. But what we've been good at as a team is we've used different approaches, not necessarily hitting the top of off the whole time in getting wickets and finding ways to get 20 wickets in a match, whoever's batting.
"Steve Smith is a highly skilled batter and scores a lot of runs but I think for him we might be looking at even quirkier ways to challenge him, test him out and make him as uncomfortable as we possibly can to try and get his wicket," he said.