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Ravinder Singh ("Ravi") Bopara (born 4 May 1985, Forest Gatemarker, Newhammarker, London) is an English cricketer who plays for Essex and England. He is the second Sikh to play cricket for England, after Monty Panesar. He was first called up to the England ODI team in 2007, before a difficult Test debut in Sri Lankamarker saw him dropped in early 2008 after a string of three ducks. He regained his place for a Test against the West Indies in the winter of 2008-09, however, and scored a century batting at number three. Bopara held on to the number three position for the May 2009 home Test series against the West Indies, scoring a century in both tests, and was named in the preliminary 2009 Ashes squad.

Bopara has also enjoyed success in the Indian Premier League, where he plays for the Kings XI Punjab.

Career

Early days

Educated at Brampton Manor Schoolmarker, Bopara made his first-class debut for Essex in May 2002. In 2003 and 2004, he played several matches for England Under-19s, including in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2004.
In the 2005 season, he scored 880 first-class runs, including his first first-class century. He also hit 135 in a non-first-class match against the touring Australians, putting on 270 for the second wicket with Alastair Cook, and in 2006 he was selected for England A in their March tour of the West Indiesmarker, as well as their matches against the touring Sri Lankans and Pakistanis in the summer of that year. In July, he was selected in England's 30-man provisional squad for the 2006 Champions Trophy.

England player

In January 2007 Kevin Pietersen sustained a rib injury in England's first One Day International against Australia, keeping him out of the remainder of the series. Bopara was called up as his replacement, and made his ODI debut on 2 February. Later that month, he was named in the England squad for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and he played his second ODI in England's second match of that tournament. In England's match against Sri Lanka, Bopara was named man of the match for his 52 off 53 balls, which brought England to within three runs of victory from a seemingly hopeless position.The partnership for the seventh wicket was an English World Cup record and was the second record partnership made by Bopara in the tournament, following his record fifth wicket partnership with Paul Collingwood against Canada. On 30 August he again featured in a prominent tail end partnership, this time with Stuart Broad as the pair added an unbeaten 99 for the 8th wicket to defeat India at Old Trafford. Bopara finished 43 not out.

In June 2007, he made his highest ever first-class score, against Northamptonshire striking 229 runs off 391 balls, including 27 fours, and one six. He was picked in the squad for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in September 2007, but was injured and was unable to go.

Test debut

He made his Test debut in the tour to Sri Lanka in December 2007 but had a poor series, scoring only 42 runs in five innings including three ducks, and taking only one wicket at an average of 81. One BBC commentator described him as "well out of his depth at Test level", and Bopara was subsequently selected in the ODI squad but not the Test squad for the tour to New Zealand in early 2008. However, he returned to the Test squad for the fourth Test against South Africa in August 2008, following a good season for Essex in the County Championship.

On 4 June 2008, Bopara recorded his highest List A score in the quarter finals of the Friends Provident Trophy. He scored a unbeaten 201 runs off 138 balls, including 18 fours and 10 sixes. Bopara's score was just the eighth instance of a double hundred in the history of List A cricket and the highest for six years. On 9 September 2008 Bopara was then named in England's 15-man squad for the inaugural Stanford Super Series in Antigua. There, England took on the Middlesex Crusaders and Trinidad and Tobago before facing the Stanford All-Stars on November 1. The winning players in that match would have earned $1million each, with a further $1million being shared between the four players left out of the side. This never came to fruition, however, as England fell to a heavy defeat in the final. The same day, Bopara was also handed an Increment Contract by the ECB. He received a one-off payment and will earn points for every Test and One-Day International he plays in over the next 12 months. Should Bopara reach a certain number of points, he will be awarded full Central Contract status.

Success against the West Indies

On 18 February 2009, Bopara, along with Amjad Khan, was invited to join the England Test squad on their tour of the West Indies as cover for Andrew Flintoff who was struggling with a hip injury. He scored 124 not out in a warm up match, earning him a place in the 4th Test against the West Indies. In the first innings he scored his first Test century with 104 off 143 balls before being caught. He was dropped for the next Test of the series, however he was re-selected for the first Test of the home series against the West Indies on May 6. There he scored his second, and consecutive, Test century for England in the first match of that series, scoring 143 runs from 186 balls. In celebration, he indicated to the dressing room that he awaited his entry on the Lords notice board. Andy Flower later commentated that Bopara had planned to reach his hundred with a single: "He wanted to get to his hundred with a single so he could run up to the other end... And he played for it." He then scored another century in the second Test of the series at Chester le streetmarker, becoming only the fifth England player to score three consecutive centuries. He credited his success to his coaching by Graham Gooch at Essex. Meanwhile, Australian Mitchell Johnson and Ricky Ponting stated to local media that they were going to target Bopara in particular during the upcoming 2009 Ashes series, while journalists likened Bopara's Test resurgence to the arrival of Nasser Hussain, whereas others, most notably Sachin Tendulkar, described his emerging talents as "special".

2009 Ashes

On 22 June, the England selectors announced a sixteen-man preliminary Ashes squad for that summer's series; it included Bopara. He later spoke to the media of his belief that Vaughan (whose batting position he occupied for the West Indies series) and Steve Harmison, who, like Vaughan, had been omitted from the squad, could still play in the Ashes. Cricinfo staff wrote that "Bopara's stock could not be higher", while Bopara himself stated, "Obviously it's nice to be involved in the squad; it's a big series coming up for us, and hopefully I can go out and do the business." Shane Warne, meanwhile, stated to the Daily Mirror that he did not view Bopara as an international cricketer, criticising his temperament. He found success in a warm-up match against Warwickshire, however, scoring 104 while opening with Andrew Strauss.

Bopara struggled during the series, however, with scores of 35, one, 18, 27, 23, one and a duck. He was dismissed by Ben Hilfenhaus in five of his seven innings. Speculation grew about his position for the final Test, where England required a win to regain the Ashes, and it was announced on August 16 that Bopara had been dropped in favour of uncapped Jonathan Trott, who went on to score a century on debut. Bopara returned to Essex and scored 201 against Surrey, and it was announced on September 11 that he had been awarded an "incremental contract" with England, as had Trott.

Achievements

Test Centuries

Ravi Bopara's Test Centuries
Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 104 4 West Indies Bridgetownmarker, Barbadosmarker Kensington Ovalmarker 2009
[2] 143 5 West Indies Londonmarker, England Lord'smarker 2009
[3] 108 6 West Indies Chester-le-streetmarker, England Riverside Groundmarker 2009


Notes

  1. This article from Cricinfo gives Bopara's score as 134, but the scorecard from Cricinfo and the scorecard from CricketArchive both say 135.
  2. Bopara wins place ahead of Loye, Cricinfo, 14 February 2007.
  3. Scorecard from Cricinfo, retrieved 5 April 2007.
  4. Match report from the BBC, retrieved 5 April 2007.
  5. World Cup Partnership Records for England from Cricinfo, retrieved 5 April 2007.
  6. England series rankings from the BBC Test Match Special blog, retrieved 23 December 2007.
  7. Prior dropped as Ambrose gets his chance from Cricinfo, retrieved 4 January 2008.
  8. Bopara replaces Vaughan in squad from BBC Sport, retrieved 4 August 2008.
  9. Cricket Scorecard from BBC Sport, retrieved 4 June 2008.


References



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