Former England captain and opening batsman Michael Atherton has backed Ollie Pope to bounce back from his torrid run of form he is going through currently. Ollie Pope had a highly productive Test tour of South Africa in 2019-20 post, which the cricketing fraternity recognized him as the next big thing. Nevertheless, despite a challenging series in India, Michael Atherton has urged the management to stick with the youngster for long.
Ollie Pope has played all three Tests in the ongoing series against India, but right-handed batsman has managed only 109 runs at 18.17 alongside a highest score of 34. Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin dislodged Pope’s stumps on both occasions in the third Test as the batsman played down the wrong line. Presently, England trail the four-match rubber by 2-1 with one to play.
Nevertheless, Michael Atherton urged the team management to field Ollie Pope for the fourth and final Test and must give him a longer rope, regardless of what transpires. The cricketer-turned-commentator is aware of some voices saying that Pope must take Joe Root’s route and drop himself from the side and bounce back like the England captain did after his axing post the 2013-14 Ashes debacle.
“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 said as quoted by Times London.
England can draw the series, which would be a significant achievement: Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton responded to those voices by saying that the main difference between that era and the present is that Ashes were done alongside a whitewash. The 52-year old reminded that in the ongoing series, England has the opportunity to draw the series and must try to do by picking their best side and without dropping a key batsman.
“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,” he added.