Pope Inaugurated with Maiden Wicket for SA in Sheffield Shield

It stopped raining in New South Wales just enough for South Australian leg-spinner Lloyd Pope to bowl to some of NSW’s tailenders and in so doing, record his maiden first-class wicket in the Sheffield Shield competition.

Time to get on the bandwagon.

Pope is the future of Australian cricket and he is the possessor of a wrong’un that has comparisons to Shane Warne coming along at breakneck pace.

The 18-year-old Pope is being laden with great expectations.

He was bowling to NSW tailender Steven O’Keefe and here’s hoping that O’Keefe does not become the answer to the future trivia question, “From whom did Lloyd take his first wicket in the Sheffield Shield?”

The video of Pope’s wicket is viral and the bowl he made to O’Keefe started far outside off-stump, and then spun with authority into O’Keefe’s pads and sent him off lbw.

“It was a bit of plan to the tailenders, to try and turn the ball both ways a little bit more. It worked, I guess, so it’s pretty good,” Pope said in comments published by the AAP.

Of the comparisons with Warne, Pope said, “It’s interesting to see what people say about that. I’m probably a little bit of a different bowler … I turn it a bit less than him and try and bowl a few more variations. There’s a few differences.”

Pope was just 12 when he started bowling legspin in the nets. He had experimented with medium pace and played all over the pitch and even tried the gloves for wicketkeeping.

Whether or not Pope ascends to be on par with Warne is a long way off, but Australia certainly could use some optimism, considering the batting collapse that took place in the international arena against Pakistan in the UAE.

Pope’s promise gained notice when he took 8 – 35 for Oz last January in the under-19 World Cup quarter-final. Those figures were the best ever in the tournament.