Ollie Pope credits Brendon McCullum for liberating his game
Ollie Pope with Brendon McCullum (PC: Twitter)
England top-order batter Ollie Pope has revealed that head coach Brendon McCullum has been a key guiding force behind his return to form in the longest format.
Pope, who hit his maiden Test century in January 2020 was finding it difficult to convert his starts to three-digit scores in the last two years.
In his second assignment of 2022 Summer, the 24-year-old was sensational with his knock of 145 off 239 balls against New Zealand, which got him back from oblivion.
In the recently completed red-ball series against South Africa, Pope emerged as the top-scorer with 179 runs in five innings, helping England to secure a 2-1 victory.
Furthermore, he was promoted to the number three spot, under the new leadership of Ben Stokes and McCullum.
In this regard, Pope reckoned the former Kiwi batter helped him get over his fears, and play his natural game.
Here is what Pope said:
“I had some good chats with Baz, actually, and he’s been very much saying, ‘stop fearing getting out in Test cricket. I think it’s because Test cricket is so important to me… I’d do anything to have a great career and play 100 Tests or whatever.
"From a guy like him – he’s got an amazing record, had an amazing career – he’s obviously lived that and lived by that and he realises that along the way, you’re going to get a few low scores as well."
Pope is likely to be featuring for Surrey in the County Championship 2022 fixture against Yorkshire next week.
England's next Test series is slated to be played in December against Pakistan, and the elegant batter has ample time at his disposal for preparations ahead of the Tour.