T20 perfect for Bopara - Broad
Twenty20 is the ideal format for Ravi Bopara to rediscover his batting form, according to England captain Stuart Broad.
Bopara has struggled for runs since missing the Investec Tests versus South Africa due to personal problems. However, he impressed with his seam bowling during the NatWest Series.
The 27-year-old all-rounder is set to feature again this evening at Old Trafford in the second of three NatWest International T20s against the Proteas, having batted at number three and bowled two overs in Saturday’s seven-wicket loss at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Broad has confidence in Bopara, who is likely to be a key figure in England’s World Twenty20 defence in Sri Lanka from next week.
“Ravi’s struggled the last couple of weeks, but he’s working very hard on putting that right,” Broad said.
“You know as a batsman you can be one shot away from something clicking, and finding yourself back in form - and Twenty20 cricket is probably the perfect format for that, because you can play with a bit of licence and let that freedom come back to your game.
“We hope Ravi can get back to that, because he’ll be an important player for us in Sri Lanka - not just with the bat, but I think his bowling will be useful on those sorts of wickets.”
England do have the reassurance of a near like-for-like - and in-form - deputy in Luke Wright.
The all-rounder cannot claim Bopara’s batting pedigree, but he has shown himself in an especially good light this summer with a string of fine performances for Sussex.
“Someone like Wrighty has played some really good knocks in domestic cricket in the past couple of weeks,” added Broad.
“Going into this World Cup, there will certainly be a chance to have a look at some different options for guys to impress. There’s going to be some opportunities available. It’s up to the guys to really grab them.”
South Africa’s number three on Saturday, T20 international debutant Francois du Plessis, is another batsman searching for form but with the backing of his skipper.
“It was his first Twenty20 game,” AB de Villiers said. “We all know what he’s capable of - he’s a class player.
“Instead of dropping him, I think it’s important to keep backing him and making sure he gets a bit of confidence going into the World Cup.
“All I need to know is what he’s capable of - and I know exactly what he’s capable of. We all do, so that’s enough for me going into the World Cup for now.”