The Ashes 2023: England’s Ollie Pope says he almost fell asleep on painkillers at Lord’s

England vice-captain Ollie Pope says he almost fell asleep waiting to bat in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s because the painkillers he took for his shoulder injury were so strong.

Pope, 25, dislocated his right shoulder in the field, but defied the injury to make 42 and three with the bat.

He was named in the squad for the third Test at Headingley, but was then ruled out for the rest of the summer.

“It was sore, I was on heavy painkillers,” Pope told The Telegraph.

“I was falling asleep waiting to bat because the painkillers were so strong. That was kind of annoying.

“Once I got into the innings it was OK. There were shots which jarred it. I didn’t want to carry on on the pitch because you know what the Aussies are like, I didn’t want to have a target on my back.”

Pope was made to field in Australia’s second innings, with the officials deciding he was fit to do so having batted.

He said the officials “went against the medical staff’s recommendations” and it was “pretty frustrating”.

He was fielding at mid-on throughout, but then made the injury worse by attempting to stop a shot and save some runs.

“I was pretty flat then,” Pope said. “The first time you fear the worst but hope it was just badly bruised. The second time I knew.”

It then made batting in the second innings even more difficult for England’s number three.

“I thought worst-case scenario I bat for a few minutes and get a few, but at least that keeps Joe Root and Harry Brook in their usual positions,” Pope said.

“I knew I couldn’t play a pull or cut shot. I got a good ball but would like to think I keep it out normally.

“The lack of movement I had in the second innings, I was probably sweating on the short ball every ball, because I knew I would have to let it hit me, or try to get out the way because I didn’t have any shots above my shoulder.”

England lost the Test at Lord’s by 42 runs to go 2-0 down but then won by three wickets at Headingley to keep the five-Test series alive.

Pope has since had surgery to fix the dislocation, and the latest operation should mean “the end of all shoulder dislocations”.

“They cut a bit of bone out to stabilise the whole joint, rather than just keyhole surgery which I’ve also had before,” explained Pope.

He is expected to be out until November but will then try and play cricket – either in a T20 franchise league or red-ball cricket overseas – because he does not “want my next game of cricket to be against India”, where England tour in January.


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