India v England: Ben Stokes tips Ollie Pope to break Joe Root record

Ben Stokes believes Ollie Pope can go on to break England’s batting records (Picture: Getty)

Ben Stokes believes Ollie Pope has the potential to surpass Alastair Cook and Joe Root as England’s all-time record run-scorer.

Pope has scored one century and five fifties in his 15 Test matches to date, scoring a brilliant 135 not out against South Africa at the start of 2020.

The 23-year-old has not reached three figures for England since then and has a top-score of just 34 from the first two Tests of the ongoing tour of India.

But Pope is regarded as one of the most exciting and talented young players in world cricket and Stokes says he has the potential to enjoy a brilliant Test career, perhaps even surpassing Root as England’s leading run-scorer.

Former captain Cook currently holds that record but Root – who trails Cook by 3,946 runs – is widely expected to break the record following his sensational start to 2021.

Stokes told talkSPORT: ‘What we’ve got in front of us at the moment, with this group of players, is potential.

‘You look at some of the guys we’ve got coming through and you think if they play for four or five years now, where are they going to be?

Stokes has hailed his young England team-mate (Picture: Getty)

‘I’ll use Ollie Pope as an example. For me, if there’s going to be someone to take over the records that Root sets, it’s Popey.

‘I just see him play, train, go about the game. The more games he gets under his belt, the better he’s going to get, and getting exposed to different situations at such a young age will do him the world of good.’

The all-rounder added: ‘We’ve got a lot of players in that situation. Zak Crawley played that amazing innings in Southampton at the end of last summer.

‘On the bowling front, Jimmy and Broady are heading towards the end of their career. It’s about filling that void when they eventually go, even though they keep getting better and better.

England’s series against India is currently poised at 1-1 (Picture: Getty)

‘The seam bowling we’ve got in England at the bowling has so much potential.’

Stokes also defended England’s rotation policy, which has been criticised by the likes of Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann.

Jos Buttler returned home following the first Test against India, while Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood missed the opening two matches as part of the ECB’s rotation policy.

‘Being in bubbles, being locked away and confined to hotel rooms and cricket grounds means it’s not just about the physical side, we have to look after the mental side as well,’ Stokes said.

‘If giving people rest benefits them long-term and means we’ll get more cricket out of them in the next two or three years, there’s no complaints from anyone in this team.

‘It’s tough what we’re doing at the moment. Being away from home for so long and being stuck in hotels and cricket grounds.

‘People don’t understand it unless they’ve lived it. We’re in the day and age now where people find it easier to open up on the mental side, it’s not seen as a weakness.

‘We will see the benefits of allowing people to have rests and go home halfway through the series.’

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