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Bopara hails Hackney

Watch our video from Hackney Marshes where Ravi Bopara inspected the new facilities

Ravi Bopara was thrilled to see the impressive new cricket pitches at Hackney Marshes near to where he grew up.

The England and Essex batting all-rounder visited the area of east London, which three years ago had just one cricket pitch but now boasts three grass squares and seven non-turf tracks.

That has been made possible by a £770,000 grant from the ECB and Sport England, the conditions for which include the construction of a 16-room changing block and practice nets by 2013.

Bopara hailed the development and hopes it will encourage an increase in cricket participation in east London.

“There’s a lot of cricket on with all these kids about. I think it’s brilliant, especially for somewhere like east London,” the 26-year-old told

“It was quite rough coming down here actually to Hackney Marshes, and coming playing football and stuff, you had to be quite careful. But it looks very good and the kids have been very good.”

Bopara, who has played in 10 Tests, 59 one-day and 12 Twenty20 internationals, added: “There is a huge community of Caribbeans, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Indians here.

“There’s a massive community and you know how much they love their cricket and it’s nice to see facilities like this because there certainly wasn’t these facilities around when I was growing up and that wasn’t that long ago.

“It’s brilliant to see and with the turnout here as well, it’s very, very good.”