It's a cut-throat business - Bopara
After a couple of important innings for England during their home ODI series against India, Ravi Bopara started the tour of India with a score of 73 against Hyderabad, which was crucial to the England XI winning the game. However, Bopara, who has been in and out of the England side during his career, is not taking anything for granted.
"It's a cut-throat business," he said. "You've just got to keep playing well whenever things are in your favour, and make sure you nail it."
England dominated India at home, winning the Test series 4-0 and the five-match ODI series 3-0, but the challenge for them will be to adapt to conditions in the subcontinent, where they struggled during the World Cup. Bopara said singles would be important since sometimes it was difficult to go through with your shots on Indian pitches.
"You've always got to look for boundaries; you've got to keep hitting the ball very hard. But it is a lot more difficult in India because you do know that if the pitch is not playing quite right you can't go through with all your shots. There is the worry of chipping it to the infield.
"You've got to have that in mind. You don't then hit the ball quite as hard or freely as you would like to. On those sorts of pitches, the singles do become very important - you don't want to be tied up with too many dot balls and put yourself under pressure, and have to look for a big shot on a pitch that is not quite suited to the batters."
England's batsmen had a tough time of it against Hyderabad, losing four wickets in the first 15 overs before Bopara and Chris Woakes took them to a score of 219. "It was a little bit of a difficult pitch, especially up front," Bopara said. "With the new ball, it was quite tough. But once the ball got older, it got better.
"It was hard to get the ball away, and quite a soft outfield. It was one of those where we thought we should be scoring a lot quicker, but in reality I thought 240 would have been a good score, and as it proved 220 was a good score."
Bopara recently put in a surprising performance with the ball, taking 4 for 10 to help England beat West Indies in a Twenty20 international at The Oval. He said he expected his bowling to be called upon against India as well.
"I think it's important for me to get my bowling right on this tour. At some stage my bowling is going to be called upon and I'm going to have to do a good job because, as we know, this Indian side have a very, very good batting line-up; they are playing in their own conditions too." He said he hoped to kick on from the positive start to the tour.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Kieswetter is set to join England at practice for the first time on October 10, after Somerset were eliminated from the Champions League T20 at the semi-final stage. Kisewetter suffered a bruised arm during the semi-final against Mumbai Indians, when he was struck by a smash down the ground from his batting partner Jos Buttler. England will assess the injury as soon as possible.