England batsman Ollie Pope has claimed that the fact that India had to change their plans and go away from flat wickets in the four-Test series was a compliment to England. Pope also revealed that even Ben Stokes and Joe Root felt that the India Tests were the toughest conditions they've played in.
One of common themes in India in the last few years in Tests has been flat wickets on which the Virat Kohli-led side have bamboozled the opponents. At least, since the 2017 Test series against Australia. And that was the case in the first Test in Chennai against England as well where the visitors were welcomed with a flat wicket. However, things didn't go India's way as after a long time they lost a Test at home, post which there were spin-friendly wickets on offer with some turning a lot, which resulted in a poor performance from England as they lost the series 1-3.
Ollie Pope, who didn't have the best of series in India, patted his team's back and said it's a compliment to the Three Lions that India had to ditch their flat wicket theme.
"I'm not saying (India) felt they had to produce those wickets, but the fact they've gone away from their flat wickets for three days, then spin on day four and five, which is generally the theme out there, it was quite a compliment to us in how we went about our business and a compliment to our bowlers," Pope said during Surrey's pre-season media day at the Oval, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"That shot us in the foot a little bit but it's a good compliment to us as a team because they obviously felt they had to change their gameplan."
"Chatting to the more experienced guys like Joe Root and Ben Stokes, those guys were pretty much saying exactly the same: these are the toughest conditions they've played in. If those guys are saying it as well, you know how challenging it is."
The right-hander also added that he had got an idea that the wickets were going to be tough after the first Test as the Indian skipper Virat Kohli was chirping about the same.
"In the second innings the pitch started spinning quite a lot. I remember standing at the non-striker's end and Kohli came up to me and said 'this is the last of the flat wickets'. At that point I knew it was probably going to be quite a challenging rest of the series from a batting point of view."
Playing in bio-bubbles is the new norm in the times of global pandemic. Reflecting back on the experience of staying inside the bio-bubble in India, Pope reckoned that it was a very difficult experience and insisted that it was good to be back to doing normal stuff.
"The Indian bubble was a pretty tough one. They were quite business-like hotels so there's not a massive amount going on, there's no real outdoor space to get used to, have a run-around or kick a ball around or anything normal. So being back and strolling to go and get a coffee or anything like that, it's just that bit of normality that I think humans need, really. It does have its challenges and everyone deals with them in slightly different ways but it is very nice to be out of those bubbles and let free a little bit."