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Bopara sets sights high

Ravi Bopara talks about his England aspirations

Ravi Bopara still has plenty he wants to achieve in international cricket, having brought up a significant career milestone.

The opening encounter of the ongoing three-match series against West Indies represented Bopara's 100th one-day international appearance.

That ended in defeat yet the Essex man played a key role as England levelled the series on Sunday, showing great cool to see his side - who had slipped to 105 for seven in pursuit of 160 - over the line.

And Bopara, who struck 38 not out from number seven, is hoping that can be the catalyst for further success.

"I’m happy that I’ve played 100 ODIs but I wouldn’t say I am satisfied," he said. "I would have loved to have nailed down a position in the line-up where I’d batted for 80 per cent of those one-dayers.

"But I think I may have batted in virtually every position. So it would have been nice to have one position all the way through like I do for Essex.

Ravi Bopara, pictured batting during Sunday's second one-day international against West Indies, is eyeing a Test spot

"I bat at the top of order for Essex and (have) done well. I’d love to be given that opportunity for England.”

For now, though, Bopara can enjoy the key role he played in keeping England's series hopes alive.

“It was a nice feeling to win the game from the position we ended up in," he added " To be 79 for two and then 81 for five is not normal in a cricket game but these things happen. The main thing was to get the job done and we did.”

Further performances like his effort in Antigua are sure to ensure Bopara is linked with a return in the longest form for England, especially with places up for grabs.

The Essex man's last Test appearance came against South Africa in 2012 and he is desperate to get back in the fold.

“Personally, I’ve never been more hungry to play Test cricket," he said. "I went through that that period when things weren’t right with my life and I took my eye off the ball – well, not the ball.

"When I had that time away, I had a lot of time to think about what I want to do and why I’m here and why I started playing cricket.

"I realised that the most important thing in my life apart from my family is cricket. And being the best I can be.

"Not just playing 13 Tests and finishing my career saying I’ve played 13 Tests and 100 ODIs. That doesn’t satisfy me. It makes me happy but it doesn’t satisfy me.”

Bopara knows, too, just what he has to do to regain his spot.

"I’m going to have that time at the start of the season for Essex, from the first game up to the one-dayers in May, if selected," he admitted "If I’m getting a lot of runs, I think I’ll be in a good position; well, I hope so anyway.

"I feel stronger, tougher. I don’t question myself as much as I used to. Whenever you go through patches or failures, you question yourself a lot.

"It’s not that I don’t care, I just know more about myself. Having time away from the game, playing for teams in other countries, in South Africa, Bangladesh, you find out a lot about yourself.

"You’re away from everything, from everyone you know, you change as a person. I feel more comfortable with myself."

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