ENG v WI 2020: "Crowd or no crowd, we're going to be up for it", says Ollie Pope

Pope downplayed suggestions that absence of fans in stadiums will affect the players.

Ollie Pope | AP England's promising young batsman, Ollie Pope, brushed aside talks that lack of crowd in stadiums will have an impact on the players' intensity during the bio-secure Test series against West Indies. 

The entire three-match series will be played in a crowd-free bubble due to the threat of Coronavirus spread amid the ongoing pandemic. 

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"When we have big crowds in and the Barmy Army are here it is amazing but we'll still be playing Test cricket and it's still the pinnacle," Pope told reporters after England's inter-squad warm-up game.

"Even if there's not a single person in the crowd it's still what we all dreamed of doing. There will still be the same nerves in the morning because so much rides on it. When that Test match starts up, crowd or no crowd, you are going to be really up for it," he added.

Neither does Pope think that absence of fans in grounds in Southampton and Manchester will affect the quality of cricket played in the historic series. 

"Whether we are going to play a bit of music out of the speakers I'm not sure but we can find ways of creating our own atmosphere I'm sure. We've got to find a way to do that when we get on top or when we need a bit of energy," he said. 

The entire England squad was divided into Team Stokes and Team Buttler, who faced off each other in a warm-up match which ended as a draw on Friday (July 3). Pope got some quality time in the middle, scoring 55 not out for Jos Buttler's team in the second innings, having made 25 in the first.

"The quality of competition going on out there was really high-class throughout the three days. I think we're getting there. We're all moving the right direction," said the 22-year-old, who has played seven Tests for England since his debut against India in 2018. 

"I felt pretty good in the first innings, and it was nice to spend a bit more time out there today. We're all moving in the right direction."

In an assessment of the playing surface for the first Test match starting July 8, Pope said it is slightly on the slower side, in contrast to the pitches in the nets which English players have been making use of since their arrival at the ground on June 23. 

"On the first day it felt a little bit soft, and there wasn't a lot of carry. Nicks weren't always carrying through. It started turning a little bit at the end. We're not sure what kind of wicket we're going to get out there come next Wednesday," he said.

"We've played on some quite spicy wickets in the nets, and obviously just against our own bowlers. There are no net bowlers around, so the quality of bowling has been seriously high on some pretty spicy wickets. We're gone from one extreme to the other. That's great for our games because it's good to adapt," Pope signed off. 

(Inputs from PTI)


By Kashish Chadha - 04 Jul, 2020

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