Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has announced that he is focussed on making a positive impact during the national team’s upcoming limited overs tour of Sri Lanka in November.
Bopara was included in England’s ODI squad after he was dropped for the recent five-match ODI series against India, which England lost 3-1.
However, with the World Cup less than five months away, Bopara knows that he cannot afford to be in and out of the ODI squad.
“The first aim will be trying to get in the eleven now and get playing and make some contributions to win games for England,” he said. “The important thing is to play well in Sri Lanka because that’s the first challenge ahead of us. We can’t look too far ahead to the World Cup.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the last chance. I never look at things as a last chance. You can always get back in, no matter how old you are and how you’ve played because if you keep getting runs on the board for your county you can’t be ignored – it’s impossible. So I’ll always fight for my place in the England side and try and win games for them.
“I’m going to be confident until the day I retire about doing the job because it’s just how I am. I can never settle for giving up on England. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I’m honest. I’ll keep working hard on my game and keep knocking on that door no matter what happens.”
Bopara also noted that it was tough to watch England get pummelled by India in the ODI series.
“It’s never nice seeing England lose,” he said. “A lot of my mates I’ve played with for a long time play in that side and I know how it feels because I’ve been on the end of it before. But we’ve got to put that behind us and work on the things we’ve spoken about – like playing spin. I know it doesn’t usually play a major part in Australia but it may do this time. With so many games going on there might some worn pitches so it may play a big part.”
Bopara also believes that it wouldn’t make sense if the national selectors made numerous changes to the ODI squad just prior to the World Cup.
“It wouldn’t make any sense to pick a completely different side for the World Cup, especially with it just around the corner,” he said.
The 29-year-old also lauded the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) decision to retain Alastair Cook as ODI captain.
Cook has been heavily criticised since England lost to India and, as a result, quite a few pundits and former players have suggested that he should stop playing ODIs altogether or give up the captaincy and focus solely on his batting.
“I think they’ve made the right call,” he said. “It’s difficult now to bring in someone new – it would have been a brave decision. But he’s got a lot of experience behind him and we’ve seen Cooky go through tough patches before and come through the other side. This is just another one. It’s just time for him to come out the other side now and hopefully he will very, very soon.
“He’s always been very good with me – up front and honest. That’s the type of character I like. I don’t like wishy-washy characters so he’s been good with me. I suppose it’s easy for him to be like that with me because I am his mate and I’ve played a lot of cricket with him. It’s good to be honest with your mates.”