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'I've only one Test to prove myself'

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 19:48 IST

'I've only one Test to prove myself'

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His last nine Test innings were disappointments. But after regaining his place in England's squad for the third Test against India, Ravi Bopara insists he is not under any pressure. Bikash Mohapatra reports from Edgbaston.

The opportunity to play Test cricket for England again may not have come the way he would have expected, but, for Ravi Bopara, it is an opportunity, nonetheless.

Jonathan Trott hurt his shoulder while fielding in the Trent Bridge Test and was subsequently ruled out for the third Test, beginning at Edgbaston this Wednesday. And that ensured Bopara made his way back to the starting eleven.

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"It is not an ideal way, with your mate (Trott) getting injured. But it is still an opportunity to get into the England team," admitted Bopara.

"You never expect batsmen to get injured but I knew I needed to perform well to travel with the team as a spare batter and be the first to get the nod in if someone got injured," he added.

The 26-year-old was not part of England's Test squad for about two years -- he last featured in the defeat to Australia at Headingley in August 2009 -- and his last significant contribution -- 108 against the West Indies at the Riverside -- came three months before that.


Image: Ravi Bopara
Photographs: Getty Images
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'I am just 26, so I don't think I have missed out'

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His last nine Test innings were disappointments, leading to him being dropped. However, Bopara now is aware of the reasons for his exit and honest enough to admit the same.

"I may not have been ready and rounded enough as a player to survive Test cricket," he admitted, before proceeding to explain his 'age' advantage.

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"I am just 26, so I don't think I have missed out," he continued, adding, "I wouldn't want to start my Test career at 30.

"Now I feel is the right time for me to make a mark."

Now that he is part of the squad, Bopara is well aware of the challenge ahead.

With Ian Bell, who came in to bat at No.3 (ahead of Trott), having made an impact at the position (with an attacking 159), where does Bopara fit in the batting order?

The batsman offered a solution.

"It is not that I can't bat at No.3," reasoned Bopara.

"I have done it for my county (Essex) and got two hundreds while doing so."


Image: Ravi Bopara

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'There's only one way to get in, and that's by knocking somebody out'

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Also aware that he might just get a solitary Test to showcase his ability, should Trott be fit for the next at Oval, Bopara is embraced for the same.

"It is not rocket science to understand that Trott will head straight back into the team should he regain fitness," he admitted. "I know I have got one, maybe two, Tests [if he Trott is not fit] to prove myself.

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"But it doesn't put me under any extra pressure.

"When Trott came in place of me for the Ashes, he got himself a hundred. Hopefully, I can do it now that I have replaced him."

As regards his future in the Test team, Bopara is aware of what he needs to do: put pressure on Eoin Morgan.

"There's only one way to get in, and that's by knocking somebody out."


Image: Ravi Bopara

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