Australia's latest leggie sensation Pope plays down Warne comparisons

"I tend not to really compare myself to him. It’s sort of nice to look back and see how he’s bowling stuff and he’s sort of been there and done that," said Lloyd Pope after his eight wickets heroics in the ICC U-19 WC quarterfinal.

Australia's Lloyd Pope returned with figures of 8-35 against arch-rival England in the ICC U-19 World Cup quarterfinal.   -  ICC-CRICKET.COM

Lloyd Pope leg spinning feat of eight wickets against England led Australia into the semifinals of the ICC U-19 World Cup on Tuesday.

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With Australia managing only 127 in the first innings, it needed something special from its bowlers to pull off a win against the destructive English batting line-up.

So when England raced to 29-0 at the end of the fifth over, captain Jason Sangha turned to the then relatively unknown quantity in Pope. He returned with a spell of eight for 35 off his 9.4 overs to script a 31-run win.

"Sang (Sangha) put me on pretty early; bowling in the Power Play, which I haven’t done too much of in this carnival. It’s something I am comfortable with. It’s something I’ve been practicing a little bit. We didn’t ever really think about we’re falling behind or anything like that. We were always up and about. We always thought we could win," Pope told icc-cricket.com after leading his side to a 31-run victory at Queenstown Events Centre.



"I think it’s normal to me, but obviously a big stage, it’s a quarterfinal, means everything to play for your country and to get into the semifinal, it’s an unreal feeling really."

Room for improvement

The 18-year-old Pope has his eyes set on the big prize with a semifinal to play for next.

"I’ve always had high expectations of myself. I always try to take wickets and focus on those areas of my game, but I’ve definitely still got work to do, my fielding and my batting as well, I’ve definitely got to improve. So yeah, it’s nice to get a reward today but I’ll still drive to take more wickets in the World Cup and hope we can win the semis and get into the grand final and take the trophy home."

 

Pope displayed his full repertoire in his man-of-the-match performance including a ripping googly first up for opposition skipper Harry Brook which rearranged his stumps.

"Yeah, it is one of my variation things," said the South Australian.

"I guess I’ve been working on it to control it as well as my leggies. So not a variation, I guess, more a sort of second delivery for me and yeah, nice that it came out well today. It’s nice that the plan worked off, it paid off that time (Brook dismissal).

The ginger Shane Warne?

The rookie's exploits has drawn comparison with Aussie leg-spinning great Shane Warne. Pope said he looks up to Warne but doesn't want to get mixed up with the comparison.

 

"I tend not to really compare myself to him. Obviously he’s a player from the past sort of thing. It’s sort of nice to look back and see how he’s bowling stuff and he’s sort of been there and done that. Learning tool for me, I guess, watching him bowl in Test cricket and things.

"I realise that I have to put my red-ball cricket up to where his is, obviously, that’s the aspiration for any leg-spinner, probably. Yeah, it’s nice to have him go through the radial. Comparisons, I don’t really think about them too much,” said Pope.