Bopara needs time - Vaughan
Former captain Michael Vaughan has urged England to stick by emerging batsman Ravi Bopara.
Bopara has followed up an Ashes series where he averaged just 15 in four Tests at number three with scores of 49, 27 and 10 opening in the NatWest Series.
But as Bopara prepared for tomorrow’s fourth one-day match against Australia at Lord’s with England trailing 3-0 in the seven-match rubber, Vaughan was adamant.
“They should keep playing him,” said Vaughan, who knows what it is like to struggle in one-day cricket having averaged 27 in 86 ODIs in which he never scored a century.
“Ravi has to be strong enough to trust his game, react to the ball, don’t premeditate, don’t get too stressed by it all. He is ultra-talented,” Vaughan added.
“But sometimes the harder you try the further it goes away from you. You sense he’s trying too hard at the minute.
“In one-day cricket I tried far too hard for much of my career. I chased the game. Chased that first hundred. I was trying to get a hundred before I got off the mark on a number of occasions and that’s taking your mind away from the now. You need to stay in the present.”
Vaughan was talking on a visit to the Urban Stars project in Lambeth as part of his work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which is tackling gang membership and crime in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.
Playing on a tennis court with the young students was the first time, other than facing his son Archie in the back garden, he had wielded a cricket bat since his retirement at the end of June.
He insists, however, that he does not miss the adrenalin rush of facing Brett Lee and co.
“I’ve enjoyed not waking up and having to face 90mph balls,” said Vaughan.
“It’s been good getting my body and knee in the right condition. I’ve done a lot of charity work but I didn’t want to be seen too much in the Ashes.”
He expects to join the former England captains such as Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain who dominate TV commentary these days sometime in the future and intends to expand the academy work he does with cricket’s future stars around the country.
And the most successful England Test captain also had a rousing message for the England players, who have appeared tense and hesitant since their Ashes victory, when they turn up at Lord’s tomorrow.
“Just have a go. It can turn quickly,” said Vaughan.
“This Australian team is not the fearsome team it was a few years ago. They are a workmanlike team. We have to get someone to 80 or 100 and trust our game.
“What’s the worst that can happen? We could lose another game. Well, we’ve lost three already so there’s nothing to lose.”