Bopara: I've finally figured T20s out

England

England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been in cracking form for Essex in the domestic T20 Blast, helping his side to the top of their group thanks to two half tons in a row and only one dismissal in four knocks.

England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been in cracking form for Essex in the domestic T20 Blast, helping his side to the top of their group thanks to two half tons in a row and only one dismissal in four knocks.

Bopara was not picked for the England Test side, so got stuck in for the Eagles, scoring a lovely 162 against Kent in the County Championships, and then following it up with 81 not out and 66 not out in the T20s this week.

Bopara told <i>ecb.co.uk</i>: "I think I'm getting better at the game of Twenty20 cricket. I've worked out how to play it. I wouldn't say I've nailed it; I've just worked out a better way to play it and it's working for me at the moment.

"All that comes through the experience of playing more and more Twenty20 cricket because we don't grow up learning how to hit sixes, at least I certainly didn't. We didn't do that because Twenty20 wasn't around.

"The younger players coming through now, your 14- and 15-year-olds, do practice hitting sixes and that's why, by the time they are 20 or 21, they are used to doing it.

"I had to learn that; it's taken a while but I find I'm getting there and it's great fun doing it."

He added of his recent century: "I needed time in the middle. You can practice as much as you like in the nets but it's never the same as batting in a match.

"I believe that the century I got in the four-day match with Kent, just before we played the T20 game, really helped because it was as if I already had my eye in.

"I was confident and batting is all about confidence. If you are confident in your technique, which I am, the rest of it is just hitting through the ball. So it was a good and valuable time for me at Canterbury.

"I feel comfortable, I'm hitting the ball hard and I'm happy at the way the ball is coming off the bat. It also helps having a good bat!

"When you are in a run-chase, you have to pick your opportunities to go for boundaries while keeping the score ticking along with the ones and twos.

"You have to decide when to go hard and when to stay in the game. The further you take the game to the opposition, the more pressure there is on the bowler.

"The way the team is playing, at the moment, you would think that we could do really well in the competition this season but Twenty20 can be a cruel game especially when you get to the knockout stages.

"One over can see you eliminated. One bad over with the ball or the bat, a dropped catch and it can prove crucial. But that's Twenty20 cricket."

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