Ollie Pope truly played an exceptional innings: Rahul Dravid

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Tags: England tour of India 2024,
India vs England 1st Test at Hyderabad, Jan 25-29, 2024,
India,
England,
Oliver John Douglas Pope,
Rahul Sharad Dravid

Published on: Jan 29, 2024

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Indian head coach Rahul Dravid conceded that Ollie Pope truly played an exceptional innings that led England’s fightback in the first Test in Hyderabad and resulted in a memorable 28-run win for the visitors. The Indian legend admitted that he hadn’t seen any one play reverse sweeps and reverse scoops so successfully in India against spinners and reiterated that Pope was too good for India in the Test.

India dominated the first two days of the Hyderabad Test, but Pope’s 196 turned the match on its head. Debutant left-arm spinner Tom Hartley’s second-innings seven-for then completed England’s stunning turnaround in the contest. England were bowled out for 246 after winning the toss and batting first. India replied with 436. Overcoming the 190-run lead, England set India a challenging target of 231. The hosts could only reach 202.

Speaking at a post-match press conference, Dravid said that India will have to go back to the drawing board and chalk out a plan to deal with Pope’s counter-attack in a better manner. “We’ll have to counter that (Bazball). I certainly haven’t seen it being done that (playing sweeps, reverse sweeps) consistently against that quality of bowlers. You’ve seen people try that before, and play some exceptional innings. But to be able to play it that consistently and that successfully without making that many mistakes, and maybe one or two odd mistakes, I probably haven’t seen it,” Dravid said.

“Yeah, especially, the reverse sweep…I think the sweep is something that we’ve seen people employ in the past. But to be able to play a reverse sweep that consistently and that successfully for that long, you know, hats off to Pope,” he added in praise of the England batter.

Incidentally, Sunday was only the second instance when India lost a Test match after taking a lead of 190-plus. They had earlier lost to Sri Lanka in Galle in 2015 after gaining a lead of 192 runs.

Even though India’s lead spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja did not have the kind of impact they were expected to have in the second innings, Dravid backed them to come good in the next game. He, however, urged for more discipline from his bowlers.

“We have to get more disciplined with where we pitch the ball. We will work on it and we will get better at it as we got some world-class spinners. It’s not the first time that they’ve been challenged. One of the good things about our spinners is that they’ve always come back. But Pope truly played an exceptional innings. And if somebody does something exceptional, we’ll shake his hand and congratulate him.”

“It’s important that we respond. We need to come up with some plans and strategies and see how we can make him (Pope) play those shots from even more difficult lines. We need to be even more disciplined and meticulous with our execution because I thought our execution was a little bit off,” the Indian head coach admitted.

The second Test of the five-match India-England series will be played in Visakhapatnam from February 2 to 6.

–By A Cricket Correspondent



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