Rajkot, Feb 13 (PTI) England captain Ben Stokes has changed the game of cricket in a "lot of respects", says batter Ollie Pope, as the maverick all-rounder gears up for his 100th Test appearance in a couple of days' time.
Stokes, who has carved a niche for himself by playing some of the most outstanding knocks in the history of the sport in high pressure situations, has also produced a fine example of himself as a leader by inventing a new approach to Test cricket known as 'Bazball'.
Also Read | FC Copenhagen vs Manchester City, UEFA Champions League 2023-24 Live Streaming Online & Match Time in India: How to Watch UCL Round of 16 Match Live Telecast on TV & Football Score Updates in IST?.
Having also played a vital role in England's white-ball revival, Stokes is on the cusp of joining the list of players in Test cricket history who have played more than 100 games.
"He has probably changed the game in a lot of respects, he has just got a way of bringing out the very best of him when the team needs it. Even in the Ashes at Lord's, which I remember thinking about 'how does he obviously take it to a new level when all the pressure is on him'," Pope told the media here at the SCA Stadium after England's training session on Tuesday.
England will take on India in the third Test from Thursday.
"The amount of times he's done that over his career of 99 Tests so far is unbelievable," Pope said.
"It's unbelievable. For anyone to play 100 Tests is an unbelievable achievement. He's obviously had his highs and his lows in his career, but what he's done (since) he's been captain, he's been amazing and there's so many special moments that he can look back on his career," he added.
Pope said Stokes' man-management skills sets him apart from the other leaders.
"I was there in the eleven when he took (on) the captaincy role. He made it pretty clear that I was the man for the No 3 job and that just gave me a lot of confidence," Pope said.
"His man management was excellent. He seemed like he's got as much time for everyone in the squad whether that be the physios or the doctors, as he does for his eleven on the pitch as well," the England batter said.
Along the journey, Stokes also has had to manage a knee injury which has kept him away from sharing the bowling workload in the ongoing five-match series.
The England captain was seen bowling full tilt on Tuesday afternoon but Pope was categorical in declining that Stokes is preparing to bowl in the remainder of the series.
"Not that I know of, I don't think so," Pope said.
"He's just getting back to bowling. He's getting his knee right, that's why he had surgery, just to make sure when he is back bowling he's going to be bowling quickly and as well as he can. But I think he's just preparing as a batter," Pope added.
Pope said England have put another visa-related episode behind them which hit their squad upon arrival here from Abu Dhabi on Monday evening, with leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed getting temporary clearance for his stay in the country.
"It sounds pretty positive. We're getting around Rehan's experience, he's training today," Pope said.
"It was sorted fairly quickly yesterday, but you're sort of going on behind the scenes, hopefully within the next day or so. But now he's in good spirits, the boys are getting around and he's just happy to be out here training," he added.
While the current English outfit is defined by the term 'Bazball' with the first half of the word being derived from their Kiwi coach Brendon McCullum's nickname Baz, Pope said they are forbidden to use the word.
"Everyone bats differently in this team. We're not allowed to say Bazball, but the start that we're making isn't always about attacking. A lot of the time it's about absorbing pressure when we need to absorb pressure," he said.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)