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Ollie Pope Analyzes ‘Interesting’ Ranchi Pitch Ahead Of Crucial Test Clash
By CricShots - Feb 22, 2024 10:51 am
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As the Ranchi Test between England and India approaches, attention is turning to the potentially tricky pitch that could become a key factor in the upcoming match. Ollie Pope, England’s vice-captain, has provided insights after inspecting the pitch, describing it as “interesting” with visible cracks and a “platey” appearance. Pope’s assessment suggests that the pitch may not be as favourable to batsmen as it initially seems, posing challenges for the English batters.

Ranchi pitch
Ranchi Test pitch

“It looks an interesting pitch. 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,” remarked Ollie Pope, emphasizing the complex nature of the Ranchi pitch.

The disparities between the two halves of the pitch, with one side drier than the other, further complicate matters. Pope’s detailed analysis suggests that both right and left-handed batters could face challenges, especially with spinners like Ashwin exploiting strategic rough patches.

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“It kind of looks like one half is good and then there’s a lot of platey cracks at the other. At the minute, it looks like batting from the far end, there’s rough outside the right-hander’s off-stump. For example, Ashwin’s going to bowl from that end from over the wicket because he might want to bowl it into the rough,” explained Ollie Pope.

Ollie Pope
Ollie Pope 

The Ranchi pitch, despite having hosted two Tests previously, appears lighter this time, indicating potential challenges for players. Loose cracks resulting from less rolling and watering could add an element of unpredictability to the conditions.

In terms of batting strategy, England’s aggressive approach, coupled with a relatively inexperienced spin attack, could pose a threat if the pitch favours turn from the beginning. Pope stressed the importance of applying pressure on the bowlers by playing positive shots.

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“When the ball’s doing more, your best bet is trying to hit the bowler off his length and try and get him to not bowl where he wants to bowl every ball. So personally, I think it helps if you try and put a little more pressure on the bowler. Similar to that first Test, there might be more sweeping and more positive shots,” concluded Ollie Pope, outlining the potential batting strategies for the challenging Ranchi conditions.