Stokes Wishes England Newcomer Pope Well


The 20-year-old has only 15 first-class matches under his belt but looks certain to play in the second test in place of dropped Dawid Malan. His performance in the slip cordon... Ollie Pope has made an exceptional start to his first class career.

Kohli appears to hold the key to the series, mainly because of concerns about how India's other batsmen will play swing bowling.

Stokes on Thursday, wished his colleagues well in a Twitter message accompanied by an Instagram photograph of all-rounder Sam Curran, like Pope a 20-year-old Surrey star, celebrating a wicket.

Aggregating just 28 runs in the two innings in the first Test at Edgbaston, Malan came into the spotlight also for his poor slip catching as he was accountable for dropped chances in both the first and second innings, one of which cost England more than a 100 runs and nearly the game as Virat Kohli was given a life en route his mammoth knock of 149.

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They went into those three games on the back of wins against Middlesex and Essex last weekend, the first thanks to an astonishing display of power-hitting from Aaron Finch and Jason Roy. Surrey looked outsiders after Paul Stirling took advantage of being dropped off the first ball of the game to hammer 109 in 58 balls so that the visitors reached 221-5.

Should Chris Woakes get selected ahead of Moeen Ali, it would mean that three of the top eight will be left-handed compared to five in the first Test, which may well help negate some of Ashwin's potency.

"I know the hotel we'll stay in the night before - I know where I need to be and when I need to be there". You play him like a normal off-spinner, (but) you've just got to watch him a bit closer out of the hand. "The selection panel believe that Ollie's performances and character suggest he is well suited to global cricket".

Surrey's director of cricket Alec Stewart, speaking to ESPN Cricinfo: "He's got a lot of talent, he's mentally strong and a quick learner".

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"But at other times it just made me know my game a bit better and learn about myself as a person, too".

"He soaks up the information that come his way and for someone so young he understands his game".

"I didn't really have a coach, I just had to ask people to throw balls at me mid-week", said Pope. He has showed this year and last year that he is a consistent run scorer and now he needs to transfer those skills and runs on to a higher level. Likewise last year: if someone told me I was going to make my Championship debut last year, I wouldn't have believed them. "I hope that will stand him in really good stead".

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