Friday, September 11, 2009

Vaughan: Bopara needs time

Former captain Michael Vaughan has urged England to stick by struggling batsman Ravi Bopara.

Bopara has followed up an Ashes series where he averaged just 15 in four Tests at number three with scores of 49, 27 and 10 in the one-day internationals.
But as Bopara prepared for Saturday's fourth one-day match against Australia at Lord's with England trailing 3-0 in the seven-match NatWest series, Vaughan was adamant.

"Bopara is ultra-talented"

"They should keep playing him," said Vaughan, who knows what it is like to struggle in one-day cricket having averaged 27.15 in 86 ODIs in which he never scored a century.

"Ravi has to be strong enough to trust his game, react to the ball, don't premeditate, don't get too stressed by it all. He is ultra-talented," Vaughan added.
"But sometimes the harder you try the further it goes away from you. You sense he's trying too hard at the minute.

"In one-day cricket I tried far too hard for much of my career. I chased the game. Chased that first hundred. I was trying to get a hundred before I got off the mark on a number of occasions and that's taking your mind away from the now. You need to stay in the present."

Vaughan, however, believes Saturday's international should not be taking place. He insists seven one-day matches is too many in a crowded cricket calendar and in future wants the game's governors to schedule a maximum of three.

Collingwood, Anderson rested

England have rested Paul Collingwood for the next three games, James Anderson is also taking a break and Stuart Broad has already been rested.

Vaughan said: "That's exactly what Collingwood needs and it will create an opportunity for someone to come in and bring some 'vibe' and energy to that middle order.

"When you start talking about having to rest players, ultimately there is only one reason - playing too much. You just don't need seven one-dayers and two Twenty20s. Two or three would be more reasonable.

"It gets a bit same-old, same-old. We've seen enough of Australia this summer. The country has probably seen enough of cricket. It's just too much."

Vaughan was talking on a visit to the Urban Stars project in Lambeth as part of his work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which is tackling gang membership and crime in some of the UK's most deprived areas.

Playing on a tennis court with the young students was the first time, other than facing his son Archie in the back garden, he had wielded a cricket bat since his retirement at the end of June.

He insists, however, that he does not miss the adrenalin rush of facing Ricky Ponting and co.

"Australian team is not the fearsome team"
"I've enjoyed not waking up and having to face 90mph balls," said Vaughan.
"It's been good getting my body and knee in the right condition. I've done a lot of charity work but I didn't want to be seen too much in the Ashes."

He expects to join the former England captains such as Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain who dominate TV commentary these days sometime in the future and intends to expand the academy work he does with cricket's future stars around the country.
And the most successful captain in English cricket history also had a rousing message for the England players, who have appeared tense and hesitant since their Ashes victory, when they turn up at Lord's on Saturday.

"Just have a go. It can turn quickly," said Vaughan.

"This Australian team is not the fearsome team it was a few years ago. They are a workmanlike team. We have to get someone to 80 or 100 and trust our game.
"What's the worst that can happen? We could lose another game. Well, we've lost three already so there's nothing to lose."

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