ENG vs IND | Hopeful of being fit for the opener against India, reveals Ollie Pope

On the back of severe scheduling, England’s batsman Ollie Pope stands doubtful for the first Test, with the right-hander being hopeful of being fit in time for the opener. He also shut down the criticism regarding his new adopted technique, stating that it has helped him bat well this season.

Ahead of the first Test in Edgbaston, the Three Lions have been on the receiving end of several bad news, including the fitness of the talented batsman Ollie Pope. While Pope endured a tough run in the past year, his performance has certainly not lived up to the expectations of the fans, who earmarked him as the chosen one. Putting the expectations aside, the right-hander’s participation in the opener is a major doubt following a quad injury.

With less than 48 hours to go for the Edgbaston Test, the medical team will take a call on Pope’s fitness to determine whether he would slot into the middle-order. However, the right-hander is hopeful of being fit in the knick of time for the opener against India, underplaying the extent of the injury.

“I’ve been hitting a lot of balls just trying to get as much running as I can done as possible and I guess in a day or two a decision will be made. I’m hopeful, but I guess it’s up to physios and management to manage the risk of it,” Pope said, reported ESPNCricinfo.

“At the time it was a grade three tear, but I think it looked worse on the scan because I played a couple of T20s on it – after I’d done it – so the swelling was worse than a grade three. Then it’s just about how I’m sprinting – I’m feeling it a little bit but nothing major. It’s just trying to make sure if I did play this one there’s not going to be issues for the next four if selected.”

Pope, however, put his injury down to the scheduling of the domestic fixtures, with him having played five T20s in the span of the last eight days, after having played no cricket because of being in close contact. 

“With the schedule, I think we played five T20s in seven [eight] days after I had to do 10 days sitting on the couch isolating as a close contact. Going from 10 days on a couch to five games in seven days is always going to provide a little risk. It is frustrating but hopefully I’ll sort this quad out and that’s the end of it,” he added.

In the English summer, there were doubts over Pope’s technique, where he has adopted a more shuffle-like technique. Pope insisted that there is some sort of use behind the move, which has yielded immediate results for him, averaging 60 for Surrey. 

“With that technique that I use, I think I average 60-odd for Surrey this year batting like that against international bowlers, so there’s obviously some sort of use behind it as well. Everyone has got their opinions which is absolutely fine, but you’ve got to know your game better than everyone else.”

Earlier this week, England were jolted by the absence of Ben Stokes, who has taken an indefinite break from the sport. Since then, several cricketers have come in support of the all-rounder. Pope joined in being vocal about his support for Stokes, stating that the entire team stands behind the all-rounder’s decision.

“Stokesy is one of, if not the, best allrounder in the world so you’re always going to miss him if he’s not playing. But we’re well behind him with that decision and I wish him to be the best he can as soon as he can.”

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