Ollie Pope unperturbed by lack of spectators: The English batsman believes that playing in empty stadiums won’t change the sport.
England batsman Ollie Pope is assured of the team moving in the “right direction” on the back of completing a three-day practice match ahead of the first Test against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl.
Much like players across the globe, English players have also been without competitive cricket for months now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pope, who is part of England’s 22-member squad for the first Test, spoke after four innings were played in three days which gave proper opportunities to most of the players.
“The quality of competition going on out there was really high-class throughout the three days. I think we’re getting there. I felt pretty good in the first innings, and it was nice to spend a bit more time out there today. We’re all moving the right direction,” Pope said.
— Ollie Pope (@OPope32) July 4, 2020
Ollie Pope unperturbed by lack of spectators
Having played the practice match whilst being inside a bio-secure bubble without any spectators, the same is expected not just in the first Test but for the entire English summer which has already lost out on staging international cricket.
Being asked about the same, Pope talked about how the primary objective remains the same irrespective of whether spectators are allowed or not. While he admitted that playing in front of an empty stadium appears unusual, he remained unperturbed by the same affecting the sport in any way.
“When we have big crowds in and the Barmy Army are here it is amazing but we’ll still be playing Test cricket and it’s still the pinnacle. Even if there’s not a single person in the crowd it’s still what we all dreamed of doing. There will still be the same nerves in the morning because so much rides on it. When that Test match starts up, crowd or no crowd, you are going to be really up for it.
“It has been quiet, especially at a ground like this where there is nothing going on outside the ground and no real noise out there, but that doesn’t change the quality of the cricket. Whether we are going to play a bit of music out of the speakers I’m not sure but we can find ways of creating our own atmosphere I’m sure. We’ve got to find a way to do that when we get on top or when we need a bit of energy,” Pope added.
Other than Pope, Pakistan batsmen Imam-ul-Haq and Fawad Alam, former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, fast bowler Pat Cummins and batsmen Usman Khawaja and Matthew Wade, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh, veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and veteran England seamer James Anderson have all been vocal about playing top-level cricket without spectators.