Bopara does what comes naturally
Ravi Bopara is following a ‘back to basics’ approach in his quest to regain his place in England’s one-day squad.
The Essex batsman took a not inconsiderable step towards that goal with an astonishing 168 for England Lions in their Triangular match against West Indies A at Worcester yesterday.
The 25-year-old suggests the time-honoured mantra of adapting to the situation did not necessarily work for him while trying to find his feet in the England side.
Instead, he was keen to press the virtues of relaxing, even if that advice came from an unexpected source in one of England's most uptight batsmen.
“I try not to think too much these days,” Bopara told ECBtv after his knock at New Road. “I’m just trying to bat on instinct and enjoy myself.
“I took some advice from Nasser (Hussain), I pulled him aside one day. He was really good.
“He just told me to go out and enjoy my cricket. He said ‘take it from someone who tried too hard’.
“Whatever the situation, I believe you’ve got to go out and play your way.
“First you have to back the way you play, and if that’s not working then perhaps switch to the situation.”
Whatever the merits of Bopara’s position in the Test team, or even his first-class record for Essex, there are few doubts about his mastery of the one-day format.
One of only 10 men to score a double hundred in one-day cricket, in a Friends Provident Trophy match with Leicestershire in 2008, would certainly be one of the sadder players should the format ever die out.
Bopara admits there was a distinct feeling of adding to his tally of double centuries during his innings yesterday.
“It was definitely on. I felt there was a chance was when I got to my hundred. I thought I could get another double hundred. I got out with about five overs to go.”
Nevertheless, Bopara’s innings rescued the Lions from the depths of 14 for three, and allowed them to somehow post 345 in a real volte-face.
Victory by 124 runs sealed the Lions' place in the final on Thursday, against either today’s opponents or India A, and Bopara believes that is no accident.
“The guys are playing top cricket, aggressive cricket,” he said.
“We’re not leaving big holes for the opposition to exploit. Hopefully like this we can go on and dominate on Thursday.”
Before that, the Lions play their final group stage game against India on Tuesday at New Road to decide their final opponents.