Ollie Pope, England’s middle-order batsman, opened up about his teams’ brilliant three-wicket win over Pakistan in the opening Test at Emirates Old Trafford, the impact of the absence of Ben Stokes from the remainder of the series and also on the importance of Chris Woakes to the English set-up.
England is set to miss the services of champion all-rounder Ben Stokes for the remainder of the series due to family reasons. Pope hailed Ben Stokes as the best cricketer in the world at the moment but also reckoned hat England is not really reliant on one player and they have other players, who will step up to the challenge.
”There are bigger things than cricket and it is important that Ben Stokes is able to spend time with his family but he will be a massive miss for us for the rest of the series against Pakistan. He is probably the best cricketer in the world at the moment, a game-changer, and even if he does miss out with bat or ball, his aura on the pitch or slip catching still influences games,” Ollie Pope wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
“To have him around is awesome but, as we showed in the previous Test, we are not reliant on one player. We have guys who step up to the mark,” Ollie Pope added.
‘Whenever Woakesy comes in he seems to do a great job’- Ollie Pope
England pulled off a major heist in the last game at Old Trafford. Chasing 277, the home side was staring down the barrel at 5-117 before Chris Woakes [84*] and Jos Buttler  launched a stunning counterattack on the Pakistani bowlers to help England gun down the target with three wickets still in the bank.
Chris Woakes had a game to remember. The right-handed fast bowling all-rounder claimed four wickets and when it mattered the most, he shrugged off his poor run of batting form and ended up playing an innings of his life. Ollie Pope was full of praise for Woakes.
”Two of the best blokes around took us to victory. Woakesy and Jos are very popular within the team and I was so happy it was those two lads that turned the game. Whenever Woakesy comes in he seems to do a great job. He is not usually on the front page of papers but he always comes off with wickets, runs, or both and we value him incredibly highly,” Ollie Pope added.
The 2nd Test between England and Pakistan will kickstart from Thursday, August 13.