England top-order batsmen Ollie Pope will be joining Darren Gough, Phil Tufnell and Steve Harmison in The Green Room for the England v India ODI at The Kia Oval. Pope has been involved in all of England’s Tests this summer and few are better placed to give insight into the resurgent England Test team and their upcoming series against South Africa.
Ollie Pope’s rapid transition from inventive T20 strokemaker to heavy Championship run scorer attracted the attention of England and in 2018, Pope was given a Test debut against India as a specialist batsman. To bat at No. 4 after only 15 first-class matches against such powerful opposition was a considerable challenge. He played only two Tests, but he had put down a marker, and at season’s end he had contributed 986 runs at an average of 70.43 to Surrey’s title-winning season.
In 2019 Ollie was on standby as a concussion substitute throughout the Ashes summer, and his call-up for the winter tour of New Zealand seemed to suggest a chance to make the No. 6 spot his own would be forthcoming. Despite unexpectedly keeping wicket in the second Test of that series, Pope impressed with a fluent 75 in partnership with Joe Root, before starring on the tour to South Africa. His unbeaten 61 underpinned England’s effort at Cape Town, and in their win at Port Elizabeth he was superb, compiling a maiden hundred and becoming England’s young centurion since Alastair Cook. He also proved himself as an electric close fielder, taking several catches under the helmet over the course of the tour.
Pope played in all six Test matches of the 2020 England summer, scoring 215 runs at an average of 26.9 against Pakistan and the West Indies, including scores of 91 and 62. Due to a shoulder injury sustained during the Pakistan series, Pope was not included in the England squad for their 2021 tour of Sri Lanka.
In 2021 Pope was again foiled by injury and only played in the fourth Test against India in their tour of England, making scores of 81 and 2. Pope was included in England’s squad for the 2021-22 Ashes and in a disappointing tour for the whole squad made only 67 runs.
Pope was included by new coach Brendon McCullum in the England squad for the 2022 New Zealand tour of England and was promoted to number three in the batting order which immediately seemed to pay dividend. In the second Test at Trent Bridge, he made a career-best Test score of 145, which included 13 fours and 3 sixes. Pope was also involved in England’s record-breaking Test Match victory over India in July 2022.