Is Ollie Pope poised to go papal on India? Does anyone know what that would involve?

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Ollie Pope (via ECB)

We found ourself talking about Ollie Pope quite a bit early this season, way back when they played County Championship cricket semi-regularly.

The ability to counter green pitch dobblery in April may not be wholly relevant to the challenge of facing India at the back end of an arid British summer in which the grass has turned beige. Fortunately, Pope has managed to squeeze in four more Championship innings since May and they have gone okay. He made 41, 117, 69 not out and 30 and almost certainly faced a few overs of mediocre spin during that time.

Given a choice between him and James Hildreth, it makes sense to go for the younger guy who is in better form. And make no mistake, Pope is a great deal younger. He was born a year after Face/Off came out. (We use Face/Off as a reference point largely because we watched about 40 minutes of it the other night and the overacting was even more incredible than we remembered. Nicolas Cage simultaneously whooping and crying shortly after kicking Frank Sobotka in the nuts is a particularly fine moment.)

The BBC reports that Pope played for Campbelltown-Camden in Sydney grade cricket last year, living with club secretary Jason Ellsmore.

Ellsmore said: “When it came to laundry, he didn’t realise that in Australia we let our clothes dry outside. He asked me where the dryer was. His first life lesson was how to use a washing line.”

Setting aside the suggestion that washing lines are somehow a uniquely Australian innovation, it’s an interesting gauge of a young man’s life that he would never have really encountered one (or at least would assume that using a machine was ‘normal’).

We don’t exactly know what it says. Maybe it’s just a damning indictment of the energy wastefulness of modern Britain. Consider this revelation ‘colour’ ahead of the second Test.

As for what Pope will deliver in that match, all that we can be certain of is that it will by definition be papal. We’re very much interested to see what that means in a cricket context.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. If he does deliver and there aren’t plentiful puns on “infallibility”, I’d be very surprised

  2. He might be a great deal younger, but he’s also a great deal more from Surrey and a great deal less from Somerset. So those cancel out his age advantage for me.

  3. OLLIE-LUJAH! Pope blesses Lord’s with majestic century as Indians pray for mercy

    POPE MOBILE! Debutant Ollie takes heavenly catch to seal victory

    MASS APPEAL! Eager Pope warned over enthusiastic celebrations

    HOLY STOKES! Big Ben celebrates trial collapse by sharing record partnership with new boy Pope

    ROPE-A-POPE! Baptism of fire for youngster as Indian quicks turn up the heat

    ICE OLLIE! Pope keeps his cool to guide England to one-wicket win

    OLLIE BIRD! First-ball duck on debut for 20-year-old Pope



    I’m very busy at work today

    1. POPE INNOCENT: denies ball tampering allegations.

      POPE MOAN : Shows dissent over dismissal.

      1. POPE AVING-IT-ON : Falsely claims catch
        ANTIPOPE: Shock recall of Ian Bell
        JOE-D LAW : Young Pope blasted by Captain

      Olly hits 50 as England save Newlands test

      England batsman injury recovery progressing to plan

  4. Here in my Glasgow tenement flat I have an indoor clothes line – a Pulleymaid, as I believe it is sometimes branded, which given the climate here is essential for at least 11 months of the year. It’s located in my kitchen, directly above most of the appliances, including the gas hobs, making it simultaneously both a great and a terrible idea.

    One can only imagine what young Pope, O would make of this contraption.

  5. FTP: Lip-reader captures Virat Kohli’s response to Ollie Pope’s maiden ton, triggering an international incident, sectarian consternation and the wrath of King Cricket (who hates TLAs) in one fell swoop.

    IS POPE CATHOLIC? Teen-zeen asks Ollie about his diverse musical tastes with an hilariously predictable headline resulting.

    ANOTHER FINE MESS – Ollie’s dismissal triggers yet another England collapse.

  6. PAPAL BULL – Ollie Pope talks about momentum, playing as a unit and a “see ball, hit ball” mentality.

  7. “Setting aside the suggestion that washing lines are somehow a uniquely Australian innovation…”

    Am I missing something here? Isn’t it true that washing lines, the rotary type at least, are a uniquely Australian innovation, in that they were invented there.

    1. True, they were invented during the Vest Undies tour of 1960 which ended in a tie.

  8. Pope commits cardinal sin

    Key with call for Pope replacement

    Bishop excited about Pope’s first visit to WI

    Holy See’t!

    It’d also be good if Pope had an ex called Cathy.

      1. Indeed – I’ve heard that Cath O’Lick is so innocent, she thinks that cunnilingus is the Irish airline.

    1. It’s very large but also very internal.

      We then spend a few minutes wondering whether we should tell him that we’re at that very moment drinking out of a mug with his face on it before deciding against such a course of action.

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