- Ollie Pope Poised To Lead England In Tests As Stokes Battles Fitness Concerns
- Stokes encountered minor issues while playing for the CSK
- England is aiming to reclaim the Ashes against Australia
Ollie Pope, a right-handed batsman, has expressed his readiness to lead the England cricket team in Test matches during their upcoming home summer. This would be in the event that Ben Stokes is unable to participate in any of the six matches due to his persistent fitness problems.
Stokes, who has been dealing with a long-standing left knee injury, experienced a worsening of his condition during the series in New Zealand in February. This resulted in limitations to his right-arm pace bowling.
Additionally, Stokes encountered minor issues while playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the 2023 IPL, causing him to only participate in two matches.
'Everyone wants to see Stokesy play all six Tests so fingers crossed his body is all good and he can do that. But if it is the case (that I captain) then I feel (ready). It is a big step up from doing it in warm-up games but I have had a bit of experience with it.'
'I have been watching Stokesy fairly closely with how he goes about his captaincy. There is only one Ben Stokes. I wouldn't try to be him but if called upon I feel confident I can relay the same messages to the guys.'
'The team has been together for a long time and guys know what their roles are in the team so it's about relaying the messages and keeping the positive attitude,' Pope said.
Recently, Ollie Pope was named the vice-captain, stepping into the role previously held by Ben Stokes, ahead of England's Test summer. The Test summer commences with a single match against Ireland at Lord's on June 1, and it is followed by the much-anticipated five-match Ashes series starting from June 16 at Edgbaston.
'It's a big honour. I was excited to find out and it is a nice thing to have, gives you that extra bit of confidence that you are being backed by management and team-mates. It doesn't really change anything for me. I've tried to help out Stokesy wherever I can, not that he needs it, if I have got any ideas and we obviously have some great guys to call upon with amazing experience, so those guys will be great to lean on,' he added.
Since Ben Stokes took over as captain, England has been victorious in 10 out of 12 Test matches, adopting a bold and aggressive style of cricket. Ollie Pope is confident that the team's success from the previous year can be carried forward against Australia in the upcoming matches.
'An Ashes series is bigger than any series we play, there is no hiding behind that. I'd like to think that in England we are favourites. As long as we can keep relaying those positive messages to the group that is the main thing for us. I have 100 per cent confidence we can continue that run of form,' he said.
England is aiming to reclaim the Ashes against Australia, which they haven't achieved since 2015. The initial Ashes Test will be held at Edgbaston from June 16 to 20, followed by the remaining matches at Lord's (June 28 to July 2), Headingley (July 6 to 10), Old Trafford (July 19 to 23), and The Oval (July 27 to 31).
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