Root praised Pope’s innings as a “masterclass” and believes it has set a new standard.
England staged a comeback on the third day, with Joe Root stating that Ollie Pope had raised the bar for his team in subcontinental conditions and proven their ability to face India’s spinners.
Due to his impressive record of five centuries and over 2,000 Test runs in Asia, Root is the clear choice for offering advice within the squad. However, after witnessing Pope’s exceptional performance in the first Test in Hyderabad, where he helped turn a 190-run deficit into a lead of 126 with only six wickets down, the ex-captain advised the team to seek guidance from other sources.
“I have a lot of experience in cricket, both as a player and a batter. Playing alongside such talented teammates has been an incredible opportunity, and it was truly special to witness their skills,” stated Root. He had earlier taken four wickets with his off-breaks, setting off a change in momentum for the team.
“Honestly, it’s an absolute masterclass in how to bat in these conditions as an overseas player. That’s the benchmark. I might have scored a few runs in the subcontinent but not on a surface like that against an attack like that.
No matter what occurs for the remainder of the game, as this is a lengthy five-game series, we have established strong indicators that demonstrate our ability to effectively compete in these conditions and maintain our style of play.
Root highlighted concentration, fitness, and skill as key attributes, along with Pope’s impressive composure during the intense pressure from Jasprit Bumrah after lunch. Pope also showcased his ability to adapt to the changing conditions and use creative shots to score on both sides of the pitch while maneuvering around India’s field placements.
According to Root, the player did not solely rely on physical power or one particular skill. He was able to move forward, use sweeping techniques, play defensively, and effectively handle reverse swing.
The Pope began his day by addressing his teammates before the game started. The specific details of the speech were kept private by Root. Last summer, Ben Stokes officially designated the 26-year-old as his vice-captain, but an injury ended his participation in the Ashes after two matches.
Root stated that having leaders who can step up and lead from the front is crucial, and over the past year, he has certainly become one of those leaders. As vice-captain, he sets an example for the team and this is a positive progression for the group.
When questioned about his position in this tour, and whether he should now be considered an all-rounder after bowling 29 overs as Stokes’s strongest weapon, Root responded by saying he does not believe so. However, he was pleased to have made a contribution. He also mentioned that he had never bowled that many overs before and his body was feeling the effects the next morning.