India game is one of our toughest challenge in WC: Bopara
Bangalore: England’s middle-order batsman, Ravi Bopara, on Thursday reckoned that Sunday’s high-profile match against India would be one of their toughest in the ongoing World Cup, but added that their spinners can trouble the hosts if the game is played on a turning track.
“This is one of our toughest challenges in this tournament. We know what the Indian batsman are capable of, but we do have our plans to keep them quiet. We will see on Sunday,” Bopara told reporters ahead of the team’s training session at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here, the venue for the high-voltage encounter.
“If it is a spinning deck we have got our own spinners who can cause problems. A pitch that spins is going to cause trouble for any team. It is going to cause problems for India as well. A lot is going to depend on the conditions,” he added.
Bopara is aware of the enormity of the India game.
“Every match is big for us. Even the game the other night was also big for us. But against India in India is going to be huge.”
“We are not thinking too much about it. If you think too much about it you will get out of the mould. We want to stay relaxed.”
Talking about the side’s strategy for the crunch match, Bopara said the plans have been chalked out.
“We have plans against each bowler and every batsman but it is how the batsman feel on the day. We generally play aggressive cricket. We know in places like Bangalore, there can be high totals like 270-300. It is a good wicket to bat on, especially against the seamers. It slides on to the bat quite nicely. Last time I played in Bangalore it did not spin,” he said.
Asked how England will counter dashing Virender Sehwag, who struck 175 against Bangladesh in India’s opening match, Bopara said, “It does become difficult for the bowlers. His nature is to be aggressive and he will give us chances. But we have improved as a bowling side since the last time we came to India.”
Bopara, unlike some of his teammates, doesn’t regret missing out on playing at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
“Not really. I enjoy playing here in Bangalore. I played here against Royal Challengers. It is a nice ground to play on and it is a great atmosphere.”
Australia thrashed England in a one-day series prior to World Cup but Bopara, who was not part of that squad, is counting on the positives from the warm-up game against Pakistan instead of harping about the drubbing Down Under.
“We won convincingly against Pakistan in the warm-up game. I wasn’t there in Australia, so I cannot comment about it. As soon as we arrived here, it has been back to usual work. The last two to three years, England have been excellent in ODIs. I am used to winning with England,” he said.
Named as injured Eoin Morgan’s last-minute replacement and fighting for a place in the playing eleven with Michael Yardy, Bopara occupies the crucial number six slot for England.
“It can be really hard work if the ball is not coming on but if we get some good wickets like what we got the other day, it would be a lovely place to bat. We can free our arms and with the small grounds in India, we can generally score sixes,” Bopara said.
The right-hander further said that he is ready to seize the opportunity that has come his way.
“It is a big opportunity to get back into the side. I have got two opportunities so far, one in the warm-up game and then in the opening match. I haven’t thought about that competition (with Yardy). I am just trying to do my best in every practice session,” he said.
Some decent performances over the past few seasons, especially since the Ashes debacle in 2009, have helped Bopara make a comeback to the side, and the 26-year-old is now focused on cementing his place in the England line-up.
“I have done a lot of work since Ashes not only on Test cricket but ODIs as well. Playing in different countries makes a massive difference.”
“It’s not now or never for me. Even if I do well my place is not guaranteed in the side. All depends on the conditions but if I perform day in and day out, I cannot be ignored,” he said.
The IPL experience, Bopara said, will stand him in good stead in the quadrennial extravaganza.
“I know what the pitches are likely to do in the subcontinent. IPL has definitely made me a better player and more confident,” said Bopara, who idolises Sachin Tendulkar.
Going back to the game against the Netherlands, Bopara said the team was not in its “usual self”.
“But there are a lot of positives from that game, particularly the chase. 293 is a big score against any side, especially in India, where the wickets get slower and lower. It is harder to bat. We batted brilliantly, especially our top-order.”
On his cameo, Bopara said the effort will act as a confidence booster.
In Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan, Bopara said, England have the bowlers who can get the ball to do things even on slow wickets.