Ollie Pope fell victim to an extended prank from his England teammates, who interrupted a Skype interview live on air with Sky Sports Cricket to comic effect.
Pope, one of the younger members of England’s Test squad, was speaking from his hotel room ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, which starts on Wednesday, August 5. With the chat taking place live during the innings break of England’s third ODI against Ireland, his England teammates, having seen Pope come up on TV, seemingly took the opportunity to make life as difficult as possible for him, even with his room door locked.
“Sorry I can hear some of the lads next door knocking on the wall, they’ve obviously got the TV on,” Pope said after banging could be heard on the broadcast.
— Ben Rawson-Jones (@rawsonjones) August 4, 2020
Even Chris Woakes, the unofficial holder of the ‘Nicest man in cricket’ award, got in on the act.
“These boys are giving me a lot of… I can see Chris Woakes trying to call me on my phone, it’s not good,” said Pope.
When Woakes and co. figured out how to ring the landline in Pope’s room, Sky commentator Mark Butcher instructed Pope to take action.
“Sorry you can probably hear the phone ringing in the background,” said Pope.
“Ollie, Mark Butcher here,” came the reply. “First of all take your phone off the hook or pull the cord out of the wall.”
With that issue fixed, the Surrey batsman managed to just about get through the rest of the interview, but Sky commentator Nick Knight got one last jab in, signing off with, “You’re quite busy by the sounds of it”.
If nothing else, it’s good to know that cricketers at all levels are basically the same, looking for any excuse to make their teammates look silly. After that experience, batting in a Test match against Pakistan should feel like a piece of cake for Pope.