Pope exudes confidence of playing well, if picked

A wicket-keeper batsman with the ability to play all manner of innovative shots, Ollie Pope is regarded as a fine player of spin bowling.

England's Ollie Pope during a training session ahead of the second Test between England and India at Lord's.   -  Getty Images

Two years ago, Ollie Pope was still playing school cricket. On Thursday, the 20-year-old will, in all probability, make his Test debut at Lord's.

Pope, who made his first-class debut only last year, is Surrey's second highest run-scorer in the County Championship (Division One) this season, with 684 runs at an average of 85.50. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind. If someone told me I’d be in the squad for the second Test at Lord’s at the start of the season, I wouldn’t have really believed them," he said.

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A wicket-keeper batsman with the ability to play all manner of innovative shots, Pope is regarded as a fine player of spin bowling. He was confident of facing R. Ashwin. "He’s not your regular off-spinner. He bowls a ball that swings away and one that swings back in. You play him like a normal off-spinner, you’ve just got to watch him a bit closer out of the hand. You can’t just premeditate with him," he said.

Pope's Surrey team-mate — and good friend — Sam Curran made his England debut earlier this year against Pakistan. When Sachin Tendulkar's belief that young players were fearless was put to him, Pope agreed. "It’s almost that naivety in the whole thing. Looking back on people like him (Sachin Tendulkar), what was he, 16, 17? I think it’s the fearlessness. Hopefully we can play and express ourselves the way we want to," he said.

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Unlike Indian players, who like to insist that they don't read anything written about them, Pope admitted that he had read news stories about his possible call-up. "I read an article or two that I was tagged in on Twitter; I clicked out of curiosity," he said.

"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."