Let’s anchor Ollie Pope as a flighty middle-order shotmaker and see where he takes us

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Ollie Pope (via Sky Sports)

Stereotypes are great. Stereotypes lighten the load on your mind. There has been no time in human history when stereotypes have had any kind of negative impact whatsoever.

Fit a new person to an existing internal mental template and you free up a load of thinking time for all the important stuff like ‘what’s for tea?’ and ‘why do Mulder and Scully always wear sensible shoes when there’s a 40 per cent chance they’ll end up in a foot pursuit before the end of the day?’

Here’s one for you. It’s almost impossible not to stereotype Ollie Pope as a flighty middle-order stylist. He waltzes in at number six, plays some dreamy drives, pulls a couple to the fence and then edges one.

It’s fine to resort to this mental filing shortcut. Just try and stay open to new information. A stereotype’s really just a basis for negotiation. Anchoring bias can blind you when the truth starts to reveal itself.

Pope made 29 on his return to the Test team, which won’t shove public opinion a great distance from where it started. We can still try and draw conclusions though.

What did you make of the knock? We’re wondering whether it was it an Ian Bell of an innings, a James Vince of an innings or a Mark Ramprakash of an innings?


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. I couldn’t get past the fact that he had so much white cream on his face. Maybe it’s because he’s ginger. Or maybe he’s actually the ghost of Ian Bell, back to save us all.

  2. At the risk of being exiled from the kingdom, I don’t like Ian Bell. Always felt he was a fair weather batsman.

    1. He started his career like that. Then for much of the rest of it he would score runs in tough circumstances and the pundits would say “this is finally the innings where Bell puts to bed the image as a fair weather batsman”, forgetting that they had already said that several times that year, probably due to their thinking about their tea or alien hunters shoes.

      Jarod Kimber once wrote that he fantasised about keeping a naked, oiled Bell in a cage playing cove drives. This image has stuck with me rather more than I am comfortable with, but I still like Ian Bell.

      1. Weird fantasies aside, it’s like when they show County Championship or domestic limited over games and every time they show Steven Patterson, they go, “He’s an unsung hero,” about ten times per game.

  3. Love the irreverent attitude to cricket and cricketers when they’re being ridiculous; love the whimsical stuff; try to avoid adding to outrage culture in general. But – people in any walk of life dealing with anxiety, depression etc. is serious shit and I thought your dig at Sarah Taylor in King Cricket’s Edge was too clever by half and just awful. I think a retraction is in order. Otherwise, what sort of kingdom is this?

    1. Cheers for pointing that out. It wasn’t meant as a dig at Sarah Taylor at all. That was just something that happened to us the other day and we subbed in Sarah Taylor’s name because it needed to be a cricketer and Sarah Taylor is among our favourites. We didn’t see it as an anxiety reference. Did everyone else?

      1. Yeah, I’m not really understanding what Exile is getting at here. Not sure how you could make a link between too many serving staff and mental health…

      2. I thought it could be taken either way to be honest – that it most likely wasn’t meant to be but that it could be seen thus. I didn’t think people were likely to take offence, but… (trails off, doesn’t finish)

      3. Kudos for acknowledging. I completely accept that you meant no harm.

        Perhaps I over-reacted to a prod at a very personal button. Perhaps ‘dig’ was the wrong word. Sarah Taylor is famous for two things – her brilliance as a cricketer, and her long travail with chronic and acute anxiety, so what was the joke meant to be?

        I have an adult daughter who gets ‘overwhelmed’ in public places, including cafes, for the most (to you and me) unfathomable reasons. Overwhelmed is euphemistic shorthand amongst sufferers for anxiety and debilitating panic. I hope none of you have to witness this in a loved one. It’s not the slightest bit funny. Your heart breaks.

        I absolutely support anyone’s right to make fun of their own experience, but not that of others. One of the first lessons my mother taught me was ‘Don’t mock the afflicted’ and it’s one that stuck.

        I live in Australia, dammit – there are lines! Finished now. Back to fine leg.

      4. Yes, ‘overwhelmed’ has quite a wide range of meanings from fairly innocuous to panic attack. Obviously we meant it at the lightest end of the scale – just rhetoric really – but we can see how it could take on a different hue if you link it to Taylor’s anxiety. With hindsight we’d have worded it differently.

        That segment is always a very low octane, mundane, day-to-day sort of event, so hopefully most people read it expecting that kind of thing.

      5. Boo to eloquent, rational exchanges.. Don’t you know we’re in the cancel culture? I for one shall be boycotting this website, posting something on Twitter and starting a petition. Solidarity! #burnthekingdom

      6. What has Thailand middle-order stalwart Theki Ngdom done to deserve this campaign?

        Poor Theki Ngdom.

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