By the time Joe Root made his England debut in Nagpur in 2012 he had already been earmarked as a player England could build around for years to come.

That might seem like a lot of pressure on a player who was just shy of his 22nd birthday at the time but, with Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in the side, he came in at No 6 and was able to get to grips with international cricket from a slightly less pressurised position.

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Root stayed at six for another couple of games before being promoted to No 5 for the final Test of a three-match series in New Zealand, stayed there for the two home Tests against the Black Caps that followed and, having scored his maiden century in the second of them, was promptly moved to the top of the order for the start of the 2013 Ashes series.

To go from middle-order debutant to Ashes opener in seven months is some ask for a young player but it is surely preferable to asking a 20-year-old, who has never batted inside the first 20 overs or come in higher than six in first-class cricket, to make his Test bow at No 4 in a team whose openers had been struggling and against the potent seam-bowling attack of the No 1 side in the world.

That is what was asked of Ollie Pope last summer.

He played two Tests against India, at Lord’s and Trent Bridge, before he was taken out of the firing line. His three innings had been peppered with elegant shots, predominantly through the offside, but his determination to impose himself on the bowlers led to loose shots to wide deliveries and proved to be his downfall.

Pope averaged 18 in three innings against India in 2018 Pope averaged 18 in three innings against India in 2018 Pope averaged 18 in three innings against India in 2018

A year on, though, and Pope is back. The Surrey batsman has been named in the England squad for the two-Test series in New Zealand and that should excite England fans.

An average of 18 in two Tests might not seem particularly exciting but just about every other batting stat you can find on Pope most certainly is.

Let’s start with the fact that Pope’s first-class average is higher than any Englishman in the history of the game to have played 30 games or more. Or how about 561 runs at an average of over 80 in eight County Championship innings this season, including two hundreds – one of them a double – and two fifties. It could have been more but for a shoulder injury sustained early in the summer.

These are incredible numbers for any player, let alone a 21-year-old. Put the numbers to one side and focus on the aesthetics of his batting and you get a player who has been compared to both Root and Bell. Even if you have never seen him bat, that creates an image in your mind of a seriously classy player and, rest assured, Pope certainly is.