Essex boy's self-confidence puts Bopara in Test frame
Thursday 29 November 2007
Essex cricketers rarely lack self-belief. An hour in the company of Derek Pringle, England all-rounder and former member of this parish, more than verifies the theory. It is why Darren Gough, the former England fast bowler, fitted in so well during his three seasons there.
Ravi Bopara, England's exciting 22-year-old all-rounder, is as Essex as they come and he has made an extremely positive impression during the opening two weeks of his first Test tour. Bopara has scored runs, taken wickets, held catches and added vigour to Michael Vaughan's side. His endeavour has left the selectors with a tough decision to make before Saturday's first Test against Sri Lanka do they pick the more proven batting of Owais Shah, or do they go for the all-round package of the uncapped Essex dynamo?
"I back myself to be successful as a Test cricketer," said Bopara, still glowing from the thrill of riding on an elephant following the England team's stop at an elephant orphanage on their journey between Colombo and Kandy, venue of the first Test. Then, when asked whether he felt he was capable of handling Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's most dangerous bowler, he said: "Why not? I've been asked to come away on a Test tour. If I wasn't good enough I wouldn't be here.
"Before the tour my ambition was to come out and play in all three Test matches, and to prepare myself as though I was going to play in all three. I think you have to come away believing you are going to play. I was told that the biggest difference between county cricket and international cricket is the mental side of the game. I was told that you had to be able to back yourself, your ability and your technique. I don't know how big the step is between county cricket and Test cricket, I haven't made it yet, but hopefully in the near future I will find out. I don't have any doubts that I will."
Bopara has a touch of class about him, a fact that was highlighted by the way he batted during Tuesday's win in Colombo. With the game interestingly poised and with only a solitary run to his name Bopara chose to come down the pitch and smite the gentle off-spin of Jehan Mubarak for six. Explaining the shot, he said: "I was watching from the side and saw he tossed the ball up and when I got out there I thought: 'what would Graham Gooch do? He wouldn't keep patting it back, he would be launching him back over his head.' So I thought 'why not?' and went for it."
England's three-Test tour of Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will go ahead as planned despite two bomb attacks in Colombo, the capital. The England squad left Colombo prior to the attacks, which killed 17 people and injured 22, and are currently in Kandy preparing for Saturday's first Test. "We are guided by the British High Commission and we have spoken to them and at present their travel advice remains the same," said Andrew Walpole, England's media liaison officer. "As things stand this will not affect the tour."
Both attacks were thought to be instigated by the Tamil Tigers.
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Sir Alex Ferguson: 'I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles...' but Manchester United boss wouldn't change it
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up