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Cricket | T20 Challenge

Bopara hurt, embarrassed by Eng exclusion

Ravi Bopara said on Thursday that he was “hurt” and “embarrassed” that he was not part of the England squad but that he was determined to win back his place.

All-rounder Bopara has joined the Sunfoil Dolphins for the KwaZulu-Natal based team’s RAM SLAM T20 Challenge campaign and the former England international said that he still had hopes of representing his country.

“I’d say I’m a little bit hurt by not being in the national side at the moment. There are two ways to describe it. I feel a little bit hurt and embarrassed,” he told a news conference in Durban.

“It is something that I want to do. I want to play for my country. I want it (England) to be the number one team in the world and I want to be a part of it.

“I don’t want to go through my career just playing county cricket. From a young age I’ve wanted to play at a top level and do well at the top level. It has always been my goal and I will achieve it,” he added.

Bopara has played in 13 tests, 83 one-day-internationals and 22 twenty20 internationals for his country but has failed to nail down a regular starting position despite scoring three centuries in three tests against the West Indies in 2009.

In August last year Bopara withdrew from England’s squad for the second test against South Africa at Headingly citing personal reasons while his last appearance in an England shirt was against Sri Lanka in last year’s ICC World T20.

Bopara arrived in South Africa on Thursday afternoon after competing in the Bangladesh Premier League and will go straight into the Dolphins’ squad for Friday’s fixture against the bizhub Highveld Lions.

Bopara, looking fit and relaxed, said that he was not feeling any side effects from travelling and that he was looking forward to his second stint with the Dolphins after playing for the coastal team during the 2010/11 season when he helped them to the semifinals of the then Standard Bank Pro20.

The 27-year-old Bopara said that he was looking forward to reacquainting himself with some of his old teammates.

“There are a lot of familiar faces in there. I’m looking forward to seeing how much they have developed as cricketers. You don’t get to see what is happening in South Africa when you are playing in England. I’ve heard of a lot of good things about certain players and how much they have come on,” he said.

Dolphins’ skipper Daryn Smit said that he was delighted to have someone of Bopara’s all-round ability in the team.

“It’s ideal having someone who offers you everything. Ravi’s change-ups and variations (with the ball) can be really handy (but) it’s not just what he offers on the field. You can hear how motivated he is. He has obviously got his own personal goals and desire to get back into the England team.

“It will be good to see him do well, not only for his own personal goals but to also help the team do well,” said Smit.


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