NEW DELHI: Vice-captain Ollie Pope asserted that when the Ashes series gets underway next week, England will have a new strategy to deal with Australian batter Steve Smith.
Smith has a stellar record playing in English conditions and against England. Despite being knocked on the head by Jofra Archer during the 2019 Ashes at Lord's, he scored 774 runs at an average of 110.54.
The Australian batsman appeared to be in excellent form once more at The Oval in English conditions as he scored 121 runs in Australia's first innings of the World Test Championship final.
Pope is well aware of the danger because England will play Australia in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston starting on June 16. The 25-year-old did, however, express his belief that England's bowlers are prepared for Smith since they have figured out how to bowl at him.
There are several good bowlers in our locker room who have devised strategies for confronting him from both edges. Therefore, I believe it will likely be our main focus. I can't say too much, but this time around, the plans are probably a little different," Pope told British media.
He's been a great player for a very long time and has excelled in a variety of situations. But what we've excelled at as a team is using a variety of strategies to gain wickets and find methods to achieve 20 wickets in a game, regardless of who is batting. These strategies don't always involve hitting the top of the off.
"Steve Smith is a highly skilled batter and scores a lot of runs, but I think for him we might be looking at even quirkier ways to challenge him, test him out, and make him as uncomfortable as we possibly can to try and get his wicket," he said.