Pope confident England can thrive without fans
LONDON, JULY 4: England batsman Ollie Pope is adamant the absence of fans will have no bearing on England's intensity when they face the West Indies in next week's first Test.
The Ageas Bowl will be devoid of any spectators on health grounds when international cricket returns for the first time since the global coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday's opening day of a three-match series.
England got a taste of what to expect while playing a three-day intra-squad practice match at Hampshire's headquarters, between a side led by Jos Buttler and one captained by stand-in Test skipper Ben Stokes, that ended on Friday in a draw.
There have been suggestions the silence could be broken by piping in crowd noise or having music play between overs, as can happen in one-day games.
But Pope, who made an unbeaten 55 on Friday, said the fundamentals that come with representing your country had not altered.
"When we have big crowds in and the Barmy Army are here it is amazing but we'll still be playing Test cricket and it's still the pinnacle," he said.
"Even if there's not a single person in the crowd it's still what we all dreamt of doing. There will still be the same nerves in the morning because so much rides on it," added the 22-year-old.
"When that Test match starts up, crowd or no crowd, you are going to be really up for it." -AFP