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'It Doesn't Necessarily...' - Ollie Pope's Verdict On Ranchi Pitch For IND vs ENG 4th Test

image-lsvsuiqbOllie Pope & Ben Stokes looking at a pitch (AP Photo)

Ahead of the penultimate Test match of the five-game series between India and England, the visitor's vice-captain, Ollie Pope assessed the Ranchi pitch and counted his side as equal and strong contenders for a win.

In a must-win game to stay alive in the series, England will take on India in the fourth Test of the five-game series from Friday onwards. However, ahead of the decisive game, suspense over the Ranchi pitch's condition continues to loom.

Amid this, Pope assessed the surface and issued an encouraging verdict for his side. The English vice-captain revealed that the wicket has significant cracks on one side, and the other half seems good for batting. Pope deemed it an interesting wicket that could assist either side of the ball.

“It looks an interesting pitch. It doesn’t necessarily look like a belting wicket at the moment. It kind of looks like one half is good and there’s a lot of cracks (on the other half)," Pope said.

He added that even though the pitch seems likely to assist the spinner, England won't count themselves out. If the ball starts to spin from ball one, Pope expects the game to be an equal contest between the two strong sides.

Also, Pope refused to give any weight to toss as he felt the bowlers would remain in the game throughout, given discipline is followed in execution.

That being said, owing to Ollie Pope's assessment, Ben Stokes is contemplating switching back to one front-line seamer game plan. 

As per reports, Ollie Robinson could be called back into competitive cricket, with Shoaib Bashir also included as a third spinning option.

Additionally, skipper Stokes has begun bowling in the nets, which suggests that the captain is ready to be an all-rounder again. That provided England with an extra seam option.

Overall, the Ranchi pitch is expected to be a track turner where spinners from both sides could dominate heavily. For England, they need the spin attack to step up as the five-game series is on the line.