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Ind vs Eng: How England’s Ollie Pope benefitted from playing in Australia


So when a 20-year-old boy from South of London lands up in the suburb nearly 50km from the heart of Sydney, he is likely to feel a touch homesick and discordant. Not Ollie Pope!

Ind vs Eng: How England's Ollie Pope benefitted from playing in Australia

England’s Ollie Pope on the eve of his Test debut at Lord’s. Pic/AFP

The suburb of Campbelltown or ‘caam-ba-town’ as the locals pronounce it, in South West of Sydney is as contrasting as you can get from the centre of London. So when a 20-year-old boy from South of London lands up in the suburb nearly 50km from the heart of Sydney, he is likely to feel a touch homesick and discordant. Not Ollie Pope!

Pope is set to make his debut for England in today’s second Test at Lord’s against India. And while he has been churning out runs in the County Championships this season, it was his five-month stay during the off-season to play grade cricket in Australia that really developed his batting. “He was a boy in a man’s world,” said Jason Ellsmore, the secretary of the Campbelltown-Camden Cricket Club, who accommodated Pope in his family home during his time Down Under.

“He is beyond his years in the game. You can tell immediately he had been around cricketing stalwarts like Kumar Sangakkara and Alec Stewart at Surrey. He has terrific game-awareness, something that is not common for a 19-year-old,” Ellsmore told mid-day from Australia. Pope had been lured to the club by Ellsmore after he had been recommended by the global academy in Sydney. “We were looking for a ‘keeper-batsman and I was advised about this bright, emerging talent from London. So, we gave our approval and are delighted that we did.”

Pope accumulated 997 runs in 23 matches for Campbelltown, but apart from his runs, it was his personality that impressed everyone from the head coach to the local politicians and even prompted the local mayor to praise him in Parliament. “He never complained about anything. He is a man that you want as part of the cricket team because he will never back down from a challenge,” he said.

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