London [UK], May 26 (ANI): Batter Ollie Pope said that he is ready to lead England in Test format this summer if captain Ben Stokes has fitness issues.
England have had a turnaround in their fortunes since Brendon McCullum became the head coach and Ben Stokes took over the leadership. They have played an aggressive brand of cricket termed as 'BazBall.'Stokes' long-standing left knee problem flared up during the series in New Zealand in February, reducing his bowling abilities, and due to discomfort and non-selection, he only appeared twice for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
England will first play a one-off Test against Ireland to prepare for the marquee series against Australia. The five Tests against Australia will then be played between 16 June to 31 July. Pope was recently appointed as Stokes' vice-captain ahead of a Test summer.
"It's a big honour. I was excited to find out and it is a nice thing to have, gives you that extra bit of confidence that you are being backed by management and teammates," Ollie Pope told Skysports.
"I have been watching Stokesy fairly closely with how he goes about his captaincy. There is only one Ben Stokes. I wouldn't try to be him but if called upon I feel confident I can relay the same messages to the guys," Pope added.
"It doesn't really change anything for me. I've tried to help out Stokesy wherever I can, not that he needs it, if I have got any ideas and we obviously have some great guys to call upon with amazing experience, so those guys will be great to lean on," he added.
"Everyone wants to see Stokesy play all six Tests so fingers crossed his body is all good and he can do that. But if it is the case [that I captain] then I feel [ready]. It is a big step up from doing it in warm-up games but I have had a bit of experience with it," the vice-captain said.
Pope hoped that Stokes could play all six Tests and said, "Everyone wants to see Stokesy play all six Tests so fingers crossed his body is all good and he can do that. But if it is the case [that I captain] then I feel [ready]. It is a big step up from doing it in warm-up games but I have had a bit of experience with it." (ANI)