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Bopara to play big part for Essex says former England batsman

PUBLISHED: 11:30 03 April 2015

Ravi Bopara in action for England (pic: Martin Rickett/PA)

Ravi Bopara in action for England (pic: Martin Rickett/PA)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mark Butcher back Essex to challenge for LV= County Championship Division Two title

Newham-born Ravi Bopara might have burnt his bridges with England following a disastrous World Cup, but former opener Mark Butcher insists he still has plenty to play for in Essex colours.

Bopara, who appeared once for old club Hainault last season, didn’t hold back after England were unceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup earlier than expected, insisting the culture of English cricket must change.

That change is unlikely to include the 29-year-old moving forward after he was snubbed for England’s three-Test tour of the Caribbean.

However, there is still plenty for Bopara to play for as Essex bid to put last season’s LV= County Championship Division Two near-miss behind them this time around.

And Butcher believes Bopara will channel his international frustrations into domestic bliss this term.

“I think the ship has probably sailed for Ravi in terms of his England chances now,” Butcher said.

“His interview at the end of the World Cup was the words of the man who didn’t expect to get picked for his country again – he was burning his bridges there slightly.

“The sands are shifting in English cricket, so it’s best not to write anything off and that includes Bopara’s international chances.

“But there is always something to play for – getting promotion for your county if nothing else is a great achievement and that’s what he’ll be targeting.

“Promotion would be a massive deal for Essex so that will be his short-term aim but anything can happen in the long run – a new captain, a new coach.”

Essex finished last season’s Division Two campaign in third as Hampshire and Worcestershire earned promotion, and Butcher fully expects Bopara and co to be back in the equation this time around too.

“I think Surrey will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and Lancashire will be very disappointed if they don’t go straight back up,” he added.

“I think Derbyshire will be a good side as well and I guess Essex will fancy their chances once again.

“I would be surprised if Surrey, Derby and Lancs weren’t battling it out for promotion right at the very end.”

Keep up to date with the LV= County Championship this season with Mark Butcher’s weekly match previews and highlights of every game. Visit ecb.co.uk/lvcc to discover where Test stars are made.

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