Mike Atherton urges England to play Ollie Pope in the fourth Test v India

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope
Modified 02 Mar 2021

England batsman Ollie Pope was bamboozled by Ravichandran Ashwin in both the innings of the third Test in Ahmedabad. However, former skipper Mike Atherton urged the England team management to keep faith in the young batsman and play him in the fourth and final Test of the series.

Ollie Pope played down the wrong line in both innings, and was clean bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin in the third Test.

Writing in his column for the Times London, Atherton wants England to give Ollie Pope a long rope even if he fails in the final Test of the series.

"The first thing is that Pope must play the next match. He should play here, and take his chances, and, whatever transpires, England should keep faith with him at the start of the summer against New Zealand. Some have said that Pope should give way for his own good, citing Root's own dropping at the end of the Ashes series in 2013-14, and the way he immediately bounced back thereafter, using his demotion as motivation," Atherton wrote.

Atherton went on to further explain how Joe Root's situation from the 2013-14 Ashes series isn't similar to the current scenario which Pope faces.

"The main difference is that the Ashes were done then, a whitewash on the horizon. Here, England can draw the series, which would be a significant achievement. They must pick the best side to do that does not involve dropping a key batsman," Atherton added.

In three Tests of the ongoing series against India, the 23-year-old has managed 109 runs at an average of 18.17. Pope's best of 34 came in the first Test in Chennai when conditions were ideal for batting.

Ben Stokes believes Ollie Pope will break Joe Root's record

Ollie Pope (L) & Ben Stokes.
Ollie Pope (L) & Ben Stokes.

Mike Atherton went on to talk about how highly the England team thinks of Ollie Pope. Ben Stokes believes that the 23-year-old could go on to emulate Joe Root and even break his records in the future.

"Pope is England's brightest young hope, a batsman they think will be the next to a hundred Tests. Before the last game, Ben Stokes went one stage further and said that Pope would not only emulate Root but break the records Root will set. That is how highly they think of him," wrote Atherton in his column for the Times.

Facing the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and co. in adverse conditions is not an easy task. England will hope that the batsman manages to learn from this experience and shows his mettle in the final game of the series.

Published 02 Mar 2021
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