Bopara takes promotion in his stride
Ravi Bopara doesn't lack confidence and is taking his surprise promotion to England's No. 3 position in his stride. He has been one of the few English successes at the IPL but will board a flight home on Thursday night to take a major step forward in his international career.
Bopara, 23, got a call yesterday morning announcing his selection and said the celebration was mixed with disappointment at leaving Kings XI Punjab. "You get a regular call from the ECB when you get selected," Bopara said. "I didn't jump around or anything. I was kind of expecting to be picked. When you first get selected for England you jump around - I did - but this time I just took it in my stride. I am obviously very happy but a little disappointed in having to leaving Punjab in the middle of the campaign."
He is yet to get in touch with his mentor Graham Gooch but said he will meet up with the former England opener once he lands in England. "He is the person I turn to for advice as he knows me really well," Bopara said. "I always look at the best players and their videos to see how they do what they do and I like to learn myself. But Gooch has been a great help."
What was the best piece of advice he got from Gooch? "He told me to take my bowling seriously and I am glad I listened to it. That, I think, is what got me into the England side. "
Bopara has been in good form in the IPL and said he won't be needing any special preparation to face the West Indian bowlers. " It's just a game of bat and ball at the end of the day. Watch the ball and play the ball. I won't try to be extra positive or put any extra pressure on myself. If it's a short wide ball or a half volley I will try to hit it.
"I am a guy who likes to look a bit at the opposition bowlers but I have faced this West Indian attack before. I also have faced Fidel Edwards before. So there won't be any great preparation."
England lost the Test series in West Indies but Bopara reckons they will be better opposition at home. "We stand a good chance. Yes, it won't be easy as we are missing quality people like Flintoff and Harmison but I hope our boys can do it. We are very good at home."
Any special routine before facing that first ball at Lord's? "I would like to see the first ball from the hand. Look at the ball and react to what's bowled. But you see there are times when you are not timing well, you miss out on the bad balls, you don't feel comfortable but generally those are the days you score runs as you work harder and stay in the bubble a bit more."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo