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Players Reflect On Week Of Pope & Curran

Published: 4th December, 2018

As part of our ongoing Creating New History series, detailing the biggest aspects of the 2018 Specsavers County Championship title victory, Surrey’s players have reflected on how Ollie Pope and Sam Curran tore apart a star-studded Yorkshire lineup in early May.

In just the fourth match of a fourteen game season, Surrey crushed a Yorkshire team including Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Cheteshwar Pujara alongside a number of others with international honours. 414 in the first innings proved to be enough to ensure Surrey were only required to bat once as they sealed an innings and 17 run victory.

Click here to see the latest episode of Creating New History, focusing on Surrey’s best performances in 2018 – all which came in the run of nine consecutive victories that followed this win.

The star man with the ball was Sam Curran, who went on to have an incredible summer on the international stage as he was named Man of the Series in England’s 4-1 Test victory over India. Curran took 10 wickets for the first time in his career for just 101 runs with Root, Pujara and opener Adam Lyth amongst his victims.

Looking back on that May weekend, Curran said: “Going into that game they had their England boys back so we knew we had to up our game that extra bit. We spoke beforehand about sticking to what had worked for us and luckily on that game we prepared a great cricket wicket that you could score runs and take wickets on. When you play well against the big names it gives you a lot more belief.”

An attacking approach with the ball was a luxury provided by Ollie Pope’s second century of the campaign and career-best total of 158 not out in the first innings after arriving in the middle at 69/4.

Pope was typically understated when considering that high quality innings:  “I just remember we were 60 odd for four on what looked like a pretty green wicket. I didn’t change anything that I do and luckily I scrambled my way up to 30. I found a bit of rhythm, got myself away and before I knew it I was on 150 which was nice.”

For much of that phenomenal innings, Pope was joined by Rikki Clarke, who powered to 71 from just 91 balls. The experienced all-rounder was blown away by what he saw from the young batsman who also went on to England honours later in the summer.

He said: “Ollie Pope has taken to county cricket incredibly, the way he goes about his business. He’s immensely talented and has an air of arrogance about him with the bat which is good because he’s not like that as a person and he gave us a decent score that day.

“Junior [Sam Curran] did what Junior has done since he came on to the county scene. He bowled with great pace and good swing and deserved what he got because earlier in the season he hadn’t got the wickets his bowling deserved but he definitely got his rewards in that game.”

Missed all of Creating New History so far? Get hooked now with the first episode, focusing on the culture cultivated by Captain Rory Burns.

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