Thursday 16 August 2007 

Essex Duo Prepare For England Duty

Ravinder Bopara and Alastair Cook both spoke exclusively to the Essex CCC website ahead of the upcoming NatWest Series between England and India.

The young Essex pair have been named in the home squad for the seven-match ODI campaign which begins on Tuesday at The Rose Bowl.

In addition, Bopara will also play for England Lions against India at Northampton on Saturday as well as being part of England’s squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa next month.

The 22-year-old all-rounder returns to the full England fold for the first time since the ICC World Cup after missing out on the ODI series against West Indies earlier in the summer due to injury.

Bopara told the Essex CCC website (www.essexcricket.org.uk):

“I was very hopeful (of being named in the squads) and looking forward to seeing my names in the selections. If I hadn’t I would have been disappointed – as would any cricketer – but I’m in and raring to go. I just can’t wait to play.

“It was a massive setback for me not to be involved in that series (July’s ODIs with West Indies). Picking up that (thigh) injury was very frustrating as I’d have loved to have had the chance to help England to victory but it wasn’t to be and I just need to forget about it and move on to the next series – that’s the series that counts now. Winning against India will set us up nicely for the Twenty20.”

Meanwhile, 22-year-old opening batsman Cook will be hoping to add to his five ODI caps during the NatWest Series.

With a highest score of 41 to his name so far, the left-hander is aiming to make his mark in international limited-overs cricket during the next fortnight.

Cook told the Essex CCC website:

“I was lucky in my Test career that I got off to a good start (with a century on debut) but one-dayers haven’t quite happened that way. I know it’s there (a big score) and it’s just a matter of keeping on believing in myself. I need to put in the hard work now, have a couple of days off and then fully prepare myself for what is going to be a long seven-game series – play, travel, practice, play, travel, practice, it’s relentless. But if you get into some very good form that’s probably going to be a good thing.”

© Essex CCC