U19 World Cup
Pope plans to spin web on India, new fans
South Australia spinner backing himself for an improved performance when he goes head-to-head with India's batsmen for a second time
2 February 2018, 02:56 PM AEST
When Lloyd Pope checked social media after his record eight-wicket haul in the Under 19 Cricket World Cup quarter-final against England, he noticed his number of followers had soared.
Old friends from a childhood spent living in three states were among those lining up to congratulate him, but other admirers came from a more unexpected quarter.
A legion of Indian cricket fans got behind the legspinning wizard, joining the Aussies in comparing him to Shane Warne after his figures of 8-35.
"It's been a bit of a blur ... I've never had anything like that before," Pope said.
"I've had a lot of interest from other countries, including India especially.
"It's really weird to see because I've always just played cricket and had my family say well done and no one else really. It feels a little odd."
The 18-year-old has become something of an overnight sensation despite dominating national carnivals for the past two summers.
But he's not so sure he'll have the same support from some of his new fans in Saturday's World Cup final against India in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
Nor will it be easy - India are renowned for their spin, and their closest winning margin of the tournament was 100 runs against Australia in their opening match.
In that game, Pope bowled only three overs and went for 22 wicketless runs, and the Indians will have monitored his ripping leg breaks and wrong'uns closely following the performance against England.
Not that the South Australian is concerned.
"It goes both ways. They can look at us and we can look at them. But at the end of the day it's just how we perform in the game," Pope said.
"I know they play spin very well but I'm backing myself to take some wickets and not go for too many runs."
Pope is eager to join the ranks of Australian under-19 World Cup winners such as Mitchell Marsh, George Bailey and Josh Hazlewood.
"I don't really mind too much about the quarter-final any more," he said.
"It's all about the trophy now. That's what we came here to win."