Thursday, 7 June 2012

Why every county could use a Ravi Bopara

Essex 225 for 2 (Bopara 120*) beat Gloucestershire 224 for 5 (Williamson 77) by eight wickets

The Jessop Tavern View is quite envious of Essex. Not the fake tans, white stilettos and souped up Escorts, but the presence in their side of one Ravi Bopara. Let's get one thing straight, Bopara is a good player. He may not be quite at international class, but at county level he's top drawer. He's particularly good at limited overs cricket, scoring an unbeaten 201 from 138 balls back in 2008 against Leicestershire. That's Ali Brown territory. When you couple this talent with the fact that he's constantly champing at the bit to prove to the England selectors that he's worth a recall, you're left with a man who can dismantle county attacks with ease. Essex on really lose him for occasional Lions games, ODIs  (if he's selected) and comedy injuries sustained while desperately trying to prove his worth to Andy Flower.

This is exactly what happened to Glos on Monday, as Bopara returned from 3 weeks out to strike an unbeaten 120 from 100 balls as Essex cruised to an 8 wicket victory with more than 3 overs to spare. Glos' total of 224 always looked a little light against a powerful Essex batting line-up, containing the likes of Bopara, Owais Shah, Ryan ten Doeschate and Graham Napier, and this proved the case as a partnership of 185 between Ravi and Tom Westley won the game comfortably. The bowling attack predictably went around the park, with only Jack Taylor going for under 5 an over.

The problem for Glos started with a below par effort with the bat. Will Gidman, not exactly known as a dasher, opened the innings and departed for a 5 ball duck, then we struggled, only reaching the 100 from 27 overs. Luckily Kane Williamson and Ian Cockbain managed to up the temp and put on 85 in 11 overs, before the gym instructor was out for 77. Jack Taylor threw the bat to good effect in scoring 22 from 12 deliveries and Cockbain ended on 52 from 44 balls. Cockbain looks handy in one day cricket and is actually an opening bat by trade. Perhaps we could look to make more of him as the season progresses? With only 4 points from 4 completed matches so far, we are going to need to score more runs to give the boys something to defend, if we are to progress to the semi finals.

On a separate note, whatever happened to Kevin O'Brien? Is he still on the books? Surely his buccaneering style is tailor-made for such matches? Any updates would be more than the official site provide!


  1. Kevin O'Brian has signed up for Somerset for this year's Twenty 20

    1. Thanks, Graham. Just saw that news myself. I wonder whether the occasional violent 50-odd, amongst the more frequent failures, will satisfy them?