Winning is everything - Bopara
Ravi Bopara is intent on helping England become a force in one-day cricket - and cementing his status as “the main man” at the top of the order.
The opener has struggled for fluency in the current NatWest Series, in which England trail 3-0 following yesterday’s six-wicket defeat by Australia at the Rose Bowl.
The 49 he made in the opening game at the Brit Oval remains his highest score in 11 matches, but Bopara insists he will not let his personal plight affect the way he goes about his game.
“It is important to do whatever is right for the team - whatever makes the boat go fast,” Bopara said. “What you are trying to do is win a game for England.
“There is absolutely no point me going out and getting a hundred if we lose. It does me no favours. If I get runs I want it to help England win. Winning is everything.
“Personally I want to go out and get a big one and win games for England. I don’t want to get scores that just do enough to give England a chance to win, I want to go out and seal the win for England.
“That is my ambition and I am desperate to do that. Not over-desperate because that’s when things can go wrong, but I want to be the main man for England.”
Although Bopara lost his place in the Test side after scoring 105 runs in the first four Ashes Tests, he responded with a double century on his return to the Essex side.
And his confidence remains undimmed despite his failure to make a decisive contribution in the one-day series - and the fact England must win the remaining four games if they are to lift the trophy.
“I know form does take a dip now and then but I don’t doubt my ability,” Bopara added. “I know I can play, otherwise I wouldn’t be playing for England and I would never have got a look in.
“It is just a case of getting my game in order. There is a lot to come from me yet. Just when you think you have nailed your game down there is something more you can learn.
“There is a point where you think, ‘surely if I just do this for the rest of my career I’ll do very well and do a great job for England’.
“But things change and people look at your game and target you in certain places and you have to change again. That is stuff you have to do as an international cricketer and that’s what I’m learning.”
The collective learning must also happen fast as England prepare for a must-win fourth match at Lord’s on Saturday.
Seven times in three matches the home batsmen have got to 35 and yet the highest score is 63.
Nevertheless, Bopara claimed: “I think we can still pull this out of the fire. England always respond well when we are down.
“If we win this we can go into the first of two games at Trent Bridge with the momentum shifted. You never know from there.
“We beat South Africa 4-0 last year and they were number one in the world. There is nothing stopping us - we just have to go out and do the business.”