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  • Ravi Bopara: English cricket must stop being so … English

    2019 - 03.21

    Ravi Bopara believes England can only catch up with the rest of the world in one-day cricket by developing a new carefree attitude and stop being so “English”.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Bopara gave the most honest assessment yet by a player involved in England’s World Cup squad when he admitted they were haunted by a fear of failure and unsettled by the changes to the team on the eve of the tournament which saw him dropped once more by the selectors.

    “We need to change the culture. We need to change it quickly,” he said. “We need to be a bit more free as players and stop worrying about the consequences and at times stop being so English. We are very, very English and it feels quite institutionalised at times. If you look at other countries they are more open about things and more honest about things.

    “You had India eating McDonalds on the outfield here last summer [during a net session at Headingley] – does it matter? What’s wrong with that? They were hungry! They are not worried about how they look – they were hungry they want to eat.

    “For too long we have been worried about what people think of us sometimes that media has influenced the way we do things. We should be honest with everyone – say it straight up. We weren’t good enough in the World Cup – our skills weren’t good enough. Other teams have developed their skills a lot faster than we have because they were honest enough to say it earlier.

    “We can’t be 200 after 40 overs and then try and slap the last 10 and end up with 300 – we lose games when we get 300 on the board. I don’t think it is enough for us – we need to get 350 on the board and we now need to develop our games to that level where we are taking those high risks to get those scores like other teams.

    “They are scoring six an over and then crashing it at the end. We need to start doing that and we need to stop limiting ourselves. I think we do limit ourselves as English cricketers – I think the system limits us. We always focused on building a foundation – let the engine room at 5,6,7 do the hard yards and that’s not the way the game is going.”

    Bopara is off to the IPL next week to play for the Sunrisers Hyderabad determined to rediscover the free-spirited way he played the game when he broke through with Essex. After being dropped “at least a dozen” times by England he admitted he feels the pressure after just a couple of low scores but has learnt to be magnanimous about the whims of selectors.

    “When I’m playing for Essex I know I’m not going to be dropped – I can get six noughts and I just play my shots. You know you’re not going to get dropped and it’s funny as that’s the best way to play as you score runs like that and put fear in bowlers like that. I have to start playing like that when I go out and put an England shirt on. That’s what I have told myself and promised myself I will do from now on. The IPL is the perfect place to start.”

    Bopara says he was dropped for the match in Australia because England were not going to use his bowling and it is no wonder he is confused because when he was left out of the side last summer he was told it was because he lacked urgency in his batting. “I got angry – very angry. It was with myself, the guys that made the decision and I said: ‘Right, from now on I’m going to move ahead and be better than the rest now. Now I am focusing that anger and using it as a positive.”

    The Telegraph, London

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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