A pivotal part of the Campbelltown-Camden 2017/18 minor premiership in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket Belvidere Cup, English wicketkeeper-batsman Ollie Pope, has been selected in the England Test squad.
The 20-year-old from Surrey replaces top-order batsman Dawid Malan in the squad and could make his Test debut in the second Test of the five-match series against India at Lord’s starting on Thursday.
Pope was a sensation for the Ghosts last season. He scored 819 runs at the excellent average of 51.19 with three centuries to his name and a highest score of 128 against Bankstown in February.
The right-handed batsman was also very handy with the gloves for Campbelltown-Camden. He claimed 32 dismissals behind the stumps.
The tremendous form he showed with the bat during his first campaign in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition has continued throughout the 2018 English County Championship with another 684 runs to his name at the amazing average of 85.5 leading to selection in the national squad.
Pope has scored three centuries for Surrey this season playing as a specialist middle-order batsman with England reserve wicketkeeper during the 2017/18 Ashes campaign, Ben Foakes, also in the side.
He is the second leading run-scorer in this year’s County Championship behind team mate Rory Burns, who has amassed 875 runs at 72.91.
Pope was also the third leading run-scorer for Campbelltown-Camden last season behind Aaron Yabsley (953 runs) and Philip Wells (862 runs), which also placed him among the top 20 run-scorers for the competition.
He may have finished the campaign with an even larger tally, if not having to return to England after round 14 in early March, to prepare for the upcoming County season.
If selected for the second Test, the prodigious young batsman may become the third cricketer to compete in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition to debut for the England Test team in little more than 12 months.
He would follow leg-spinner Mason Crane, who claimed 51 First Grade wickets for Gordon in 2016/17, and opener Mark Stoneman, who played for Campbelltown-Camden in 2012/13.
Crane made his maiden Test appearance in the New Year’s Test at the SCG in January, some nine months after making his Sheffield Shield debut for the New South Wales Blues against South Australia at the same ground.
Stoneman debuted for England against the West Indies at Edgbaston last August.