'McCullum told me, 'stop fearing gettting out in Test cricket': England star reveals 'change in mindset'
The positivity brought in by new coach Brendon McCullum has resulted in a change of perspectives for many England cricketers including Ollie Pope.
The England cricket team has undergone a series of changes ever since Brendon McCullum took over as head coach in the longest format of the game. Since his arrival, England have won six Tests out of seven including a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand at home and a 2-1 series victory over visitors South Africa. Under McCullum, England have adopted an aggressive approach with the bat; a style famously nicknamed ‘Bazball’.
The positivity brought in by the former New Zealand captain has resulted in a change of perspectives for many England cricketers including Ollie Pope. The England batsman has credited McCullum for changing his mindset about Test cricket by helping him eliminate the fear of losing his wicket. In high spirits, Pope has now set his sights on playing 100 Test matches for his country.
"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'," Pope told British media.
"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," explained the 24-year old.
"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," said the England batsman.
In the recently-concluded three match Test series against South Africa, Pope emerged as the highest run scorer of the series with 179 runs at a good average of 44.75 with two half centuries to his name. The right handed batter played at the number three position in Tests in the series, a first for him in the format.
Talking about his new role, the 24-year-old batter said, “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.”
England will play a three-match Test series against Pakistan in Pakistan later this year and Pope will be tested in the subcontinent conditions against both, pace and spin.