Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bopara promises to produce for England

Ravi Bopara might be batting for his international future but he has dismissed any notion of selfishness as England attempt to get a foothold in the NatWest Series.

Bopara, 24, was ditched for the Ashes decider last month although retained his place at the top of England's one-day order.

His own struggles, however, have been representative of the team's failing: too few batsmen are turning in match-shaping innings.

Indeed, Essex batsman Bopara's biggest weakness is getting out when set.

Six times in his 11 one-day international appearances this year he has fallen between 35 and 49, his top score.

But he refuses to concentrate on his individual plight with England 3-0 down to Australia and needing to win four in a row to win the limited-overs campaign.

"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."

Bopara struggled to cope with step up in class in his maiden Ashes series despite entering it on the back of three consecutive Test hundreds, and scraped just 105 runs in four outings, not helped by a couple of poor decisions.

But Bopara said: "I know form does take a dip now and then but I don't doubt my ability.

"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 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."

Former England captain Alec Stewart is among those critical of the current malaise in the batting.

"Each batsman has got to take on individual responsibility to make sure they post the necessary totals," Stewart, England's most capped player with 170 appearances, said.

"That's the squad that's been picked for the Champions Trophy, so there is no point in changing it.

"If the players take on the responsibility to score their totals, individually, the grand total will be fine.

"That's the problem: 20s and 30s don't win you games. Eighties-plus in one-day cricket win you matches, and it's no coincidence that we haven't reached 80 and we haven't won a game."

Meanwhile, John Bracewell, who created successful limited-overs sides for both Gloucestershire and New Zealand, believes fear for places is restricting English freedom of expression.

"When you analyse their individual skills they are a pretty good team," Bracewell said. "But I don't think they play to a selfless pattern. I think they play to a reselection pattern.

"They think: 'If I do all right today I will get picked tomorrow'.

"It's a lack of selflessness. You don't go out there with five guys thinking they have to carry their bat through the innings.

"That burden of responsibility in one-day cricket is a killer of momentum. And momentum is vital in one-day cricket.

"They don't need to change the order they just need to function within the order.

"They are exceptionally talented ball-strikers who are not striking the ball. They look to be batting with fear."

Subscribe in a reader

No comments:

Post a Comment