It looks ‘platey’: Ollie Pope on Ranchi pitch ahead of 4th Test

Pope spoke to the reporters ahead of the fourth Test in Ranchi. (Source:

England vice-captain Ollie Pope on Wednesday provided insights into the Ranchi pitch, where the fourth Test is set to commence on February 23. According to Pope, the pitch already displays numerous cracks and appears “platey,” indicating it’s not the typical batting-friendly surface.

“It looks an interesting pitch,” said Pope while addressing the press-conference in Ranchi. “There’s a lot of cracks, it’s very platey, and they’ve just wetted it as well, which generally dries it up. If you wet it and leave it in the sun, we have found it crusts that top layer. It doesn’t necessarily look like a belting wicket at the moment.

After suffering back to back defeats in the series, England’s tactics have faced scrutiny, with former cricketers questioning the team and it’s strategies. However, Pope remains unperturbed by the criticism and affirmed that the Ben Stokes-led England side will maintain their existing approach.

“We won’t alter our style of play,” he asserted.

Stokes bowled full tilt during the practice session on Wednesday in Ranchi. While he was hesitant about his return to bowling after the third Test, it appears increasingly probable that he will take up bowling duties in Ranchi.

“There’s definitely a possibility,” Pope mentioned. “He hasn’t confirmed it even in the dressing room, so we’ll wait and see. He bowled at the batters today. We’ll assess how he feels afterward, and if all is well, hopefully, we’ll see him bowling in the game.

“I think once he’s in rhythm, it’s pretty hard to stop him from bowling. However, I’ll have a chat with him before the match to see if he needs any support from me. If he’s fully confident in his knee, then we have to trust the medical advice and his judgments as well. That’s crucial, and if he requires any guidance regarding the pitch, I’m here to assist.”

With Jasprit Bumrah being rested for the fourth Test, Pope expects India to play with just one pacer and to bring in an extra spinner in the form of Axar Patel.

“Every chance India can play an extra spinner – Axar Patel definitely an option for them. They have watered the pitch so potentially an extra spinner could be seen from India,” feels Pope.

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