England opener Jason Roy has praised Surrey team mate Ollie Pope’s work ethic, saying that the 24-year-old was usually one of the last players to come out of net practice sessions.
In an interview to Betway, Roy was accompanied by Laurie Evans and Reece Topley as they answered questions, and they had a fair bit of praise for Pope’s work ethic, and also lauded keeper Ben Foakes for his work in the nets.
Wicket keeper Foakes was also praised by the trio for his football skills, with Topley even comparing his left foot to that of former Arsenal legend Robin van Persie.
Interestingly, Roy also named Pope as a messy team-mate, terming him a “messy puppy” and adding that he “took over most of the room”. Sam Billings, who kept wickets in England’s last test against India, was also termed messy by Evans in the interview.
Pope had a fine start to his test career and excelled in England’s tour of South Africa in early 2020, scoring half centuries in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a fine 135 in Port Elizabeth against the hosts. At the end of that tour, he was averaging in the late 40’s, but poor returns in the away tours against India and Australia saw his average dip below 30. At the time of writing, his last inning saw him score a duck against India at Edgbaston (the first duck of his test career!), and after 48 innings, his returns are decidedly modest- 1309 runs at 29.75.
While Roy and Topley were not in England’s red ball squad for the final test against India, they are in the white-ball one, where the hosts also have a new captain in Jos Buttler. Their success with Bazball in the longest format has made some wonder whether they could try Roy at the top in a similar one, given that the current openers- Alex Lees and Zack Crawley, haven’t fared too well in recent times.
Roy also praised Joe Root’s endurance and fitness levels, saying that he could “run for days”. Root has been in excellent form recently, helping England to test victories over reigning WTC champions New Zealand and India at home, and has enjoyed a purple patch, in sharp contrast to the struggles of fellow fab-four player Virat Kohli.
Both Evans and Roy were also full of praise for legendary South African star Hashim Amla, saying he was a calming influence in the dressing room. While Amla has retired from international duty, the Proteas will be the next team to tour England this summer, and Dean Elgar will be hoping that his charges can fare better than the Black Caps and India against Brendon McCullum’s men.