Brendon McCullum told me to 'stop fearing getting out in Test cricket’: Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope was the leading run-scorer in the recently concluded three-match Test series against South Africa.
The introduction of Brendon McCullum has come like a breath of fresh air in the England Test team. Over a period of almost 18 months, the Three Lions were getting bashed all around the world and they needed a massive change to get better in the longest format of the game.
Since becoming the head coach of the team, McCullum brought the right attitude and positive mindset with him that changed the way England used to play red-ball cricket. His aggressive approach, which is famously known as ‘Bazball’, became extremely popular and gave England massive success as they won six of their last seven Test matches.
Ollie Pope, who was struggling in the previous set-up has now found momentum. The 24-year-old with 179 runs to his name was the leading run-scorer of the recently-concluded series against South Africa. He played some good cricket and most importantly was playing fearless cricket, a trademark of McCullum's version of cricket.
“From a mindset point of view, I think it's more that I had some good chats with Baz (McCullum) actually, and he's been very much, 'stop fearing getting out in Test cricket.’ I think because Test cricket is so important to me I'd do anything to have a great career and play 100 Tests or whatever. I think I was almost putting myself under too much pressure, and that fear of getting out was probably getting a bit too much,” Ollie Pope told the British media.
“I tried to get rid of that and try and score my runs basically. Rather than think, 'if I cut this I might nick it, I (now) think 'if I cut it and I nick it then it might go over the slips for four. That is the mindset change I've tried to go by,” added the Englishman.
Hopefully, I'll be backed in the future: Ollie Pope
Pope, who previously used to bat at number six, was promoted up in the order and was given a new role in the England team. He was sent to bat at number three and the right-handed batter was extremely successful. Before moving over to the next phase of his life, Pope hopes that the team management will back him in his new position.
“I've enjoyed that position this summer, it's been new, but hopefully I'll be backed to do it in the future as well,” said the wicketkeeper-batter. Meanwhile, England will play their next Test match against Pakistan in December, when Pope will be tested on subcontinent pitches.