“It’s the guys you want to look like this”: English batsman Ollie Pope wants to mimic Steve Smith and Virat Kohli
- Ollie Pope is only five games in his international career, but is highly valued
- The 22-year-old English batsman has a towering first-class average of 58.06
- He starts to find his feet on an international level, with two half centuries
Ollie Pope has set itself the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading batsmen and takes its cues from the best in the industry.
Pope is only five games in his international career, but is tipped as the most promising young player to come out of county cricket since his English captain, Joe Root.
The 22-year-old has a sky-high first-class average of 58.06 and is starting to find his feet on an international level, with half a century in two of his last three innings en route to Thursday’s third test against South Africa.
Ollie Pope has set itself the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading batsmen
Those who have been watching him closely in Surrey expect Pope to be a cornerstone and he does not shun expectation. Instead, he has looked at it and learned from the most dominant players of the current generation – Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.
Thinking about the impressive 61 that he didn’t make last week in Cape Town and how he managed the lower order, Pope said: ‘The way I went through my innings was simply remembering how some of the best players in the world did it.
“I remember watching Smith and Kohli from the moment they played against England, and even when they were nine years old, they tried to face almost every ball.
‘You ask every young batsman who comes into play, 100% they are the guys you want to be – and Rooty. However, they have been the most important run-scorers in the international cricket in recent years and hopefully I have the game I can build there, get a few big scores and follow some of their footsteps.
‘I would not say that I tried to copy their techniques because they all play very differently, but the only thing they all have in common is that they have that solid foundation and can build their game around it. That’s what I’m trying to do too, just nail those basic nails and nail the technology. Hopefully, if I keep doing the right things, the big scores will follow. “
Pope wants to follow in the footsteps of one of the best batsman in the world in Steve Smith
By aiming the audience so large, Pope shows the kind of confidence that not all newcomers feel when they make the move. He maintains that this was not always the case and that much less was arranged during his first performances in the summer of 2018.
“The first time I was picked, I felt it was almost a lottery,” he said.
“I thought” hopefully I get a score, but if I am wrong, so be it. ” In the past year I have had a lot of confidence. At the moment I have the feeling that I am in a good place with my game and I know that I have the technique and the mentality to do it. “
Pope is also willing to work hard on practice days and has fallen with the most tireless trainer of the team, Ben Stokes.
“I think I realized what was needed in New Zealand, so I was going to be a little bit under Stokes’ wings and after the warm-up games we ran back to the hotel and even did a running session the day before the games,” he explained.
“I think you can get used to those good habits. You can check everything in your power to ensure that you are as fit as you can be and that you train as well as possible. It’s good to see how these guys are doing. “
But although he is happy to run like Stokes, he accepts that a number of things have to be done differently in the middle.
“Stokesy can hit any ball from the park and empty the men on the rope,” he said.
“We little boys have to be smarter!”