Bopara opens up
Ravi Bopara has already made a New Year's Resolution: to open the batting for England in one-day cricket.
The 23-year-old has yo-yo'd up and down the order in 2008, particularly during the recent series in India where he found himself as low as number eight in Rajkot and Indore before being promoted to open the batting for the remaining three games.
He justified that move by top-scoring in Kanpur with a watchful 60 and is determined not to loosen his grip on the opener's berth when England tour the West Indies.
"Towards the end of the India series I started opening the batting," Bopara told ecb.co.uk.
"I'm loving the thought of it and I really look forward to doing it more. Hopefully I will get a run at the top of the innings and I can take that place for the next 10 years.
"Opening was something new to me but I know what I need to work on now."
While the one-day series did not go to plan - England lost all five games before the Mumbai terrorist attacks brought a premature conclusion to the seven-match joust - Bopara certainly enjoyed his first taste of international cricket in India.
"The one-dayers were brilliant," he said. "The results didn't go our way but I enjoyed it. It was a really good experience from a personal point of view and as a team we have learnt a lot from it, particularly considering the way we were beaten.
"The atmosphere was definitely something different. It was definitely the loudest crowd I have played in front of. I didn't find it intimidating; I loved it. Playing in front of big crowds is what makes me tick.
"For some people it might make them nervous but I loved it. I hope to get the chance to play out there again."
Bopara can afford himself a contented smile when he reviews the past 12 months in which he was voted both the PCA and Cricket Writers' Club Young Player of the Year following a number of eye-catching performances.
He smashed an astonishing 201 not out from just 138 balls in the Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final against Leicestershire, writing himself into the record books in the process by posting the highest one-day score in Essex's history.
Essex went on to win that competition as well as the NatWest Pro40 Second Division.
Bopara's form in the LV County Championship was equally impressive - he finished with 1,237 runs at an average of 61.85, including four centuries. His medium-pacers also accounted for 27 victims.
"The double hundred against Leicestershire was probably the highlight," he added.