In an exclusive interview with Headstrong: An Innings With, Surrey and England batsman Ollie Pope talks in depth about his professional career to date.
From his breakout year that led to an England call-up at the age of just 20 to his recent struggles with injury and various stints in bio-secure bubbles, Pope goes into detail about what life as an England cricketer has been like in the last year or so.
In one section of the interview, Pope talks about his 2018 that saw him break through into the England team after an outstanding start to the year but also go on tour with the England Lions to the UAE and then India in early 2019.
Commenting on the challenges of being involved with multiple squads in a short space of time, Pope explained that the various experiences actually helped him enjoy playing for his county more. Pope said: “I think it made me enjoy playing for Surrey a little bit more because there wasn’t as much… obviously in international cricket you’re being analysed the whole time, if things go bad you get a load of stick. It took the pressure off playing for Surrey a little bit, obviously it’s very important to the club and for me as well, it took the pressure off a little bit and allowed me to enjoy my cricket a bit more.
“I think working with the different squads is always an interesting one because everyone’s got their different ideas especially being a young guy in a team with, generally, a lot older players. Everyone wants to have their say and their input so you’ve got to try and listen and work out what’s right for you and what’s wrong because they might say, ‘You should try to do this with your backlift’ and a different coach says something different. You need to try to work out who you trust, who works best for you and if you want to listen to these specific coaches that’s up for you – that’s another challenge in itself.”
Pope also explained that his experiences with England and the England Lions helped him, even at a young age, play a role in nurturing talent at his county. “It’s great learning as well,” said Pope. “I feel like I’ve been around the England side long enough that I can now take what I’ve learnt in international cricket into Surrey as well. I can now help the younger guys in the side, and even the team as a whole, if there’s anything that we do differently as an England side that I think we should bring into the Surrey team.”
You can listen to the full interview with Holder on the Headstrong podcast, available to listen to on all the usual podcast hosting platforms. Headstrong: An Innings With supports the Ruth Strauss Foundation and is exclusively previewed by Wisden.com.