Confident Bopara ‘happy to be invited back’ to Dolphins’ camp

2013-02-22 00:00

ENGLAND cricketer Ravi Bopara landed in Durban yesterday full of confidence and ready to inject some all-round options into the Dolphins T20 squad.

Bopara flew in from Bangaladesh where he has been playing in the Bangladesh Premier League for the Chittagong Kings. He is fit, strong and motivated to take to the field for tonight’s Ram Slam T20 Challenge showdown against the high-flying Highveld Lions, at Kingsmead.

This is Bopara’s second sojourn with the Dolphins, having played for the franchise in 2010 and he was “happy to be invited back”.

Said Bopara: “It’s great to be back and meet the boys again. They are a great bunch and I am keen to see how the players I knew last time have progressed. It’s a young team and I have heard good things about players developing …”

While playing the T20 format of the game, Bopara made no bones about his personal goals and ambitions, which still have a strong international flavour. “Of course I want to revitalise my international career. I’m not happy being out the team and don’t want to spend the rest of my career playing only county cricket. I want to be part of making England the top-ranked Test team and play at the highest level.”

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener was keen to get the best out of Bopara. Said the coach: “He is the consummate professional and will add tremendous value on the field and in the change room. We have a young side and with his good credentials, will show these players how to conduct themselves as professionals.”

Skipper Daryn Smit echoed Klusener’s sentiments, saying: “Ravi and I met as opponents 10 years ago, at U19 level, and having been here in 2010, he fits in well …”

After last year’s anti-climax when dynamic West Indian Chris Gayle failed to start for the Dolphins in the T20 competition, Klusener was happy to have a player raring to go. Bopara is enthusiastic and knows he is here to play cricket and help the franchise.

Said Bopara: “I want to get on the park and am making myself available for today’s match. I am looking forward to playing on good wickets, where there is good bounce, above shin height at least.”

Weather permitting, tonight’s clash against the Lions should be one to savour. Last week, the Dolphins’ opening clash against the Titans in Durban was washed out, while the Lions are unbeaten after dealing with the Knights and Titans in their two games.

The Dolphins have their game plan and Smit believes the Lions are vulnerable. “We are keen to play and believe we can stop the Lions’ momentum. Kyle [Abbott] is available for us if not in the Test match starting line-up, and we have a core of exciting, hard-hitting batsmen who could take the game away from the Lions bowlers.”

A win tonight will be what the Dolphins need. They hit the road for away games against the Cobras (Sunday), Knights (Wednesday) and Warriors (Saturday).

Gates for today’s match open at 4 pm, the match starting at 6 pm. Tickets range from R65 to R75.

Dolphins squad: Jonathan Vandiar, Ravi Bopara, Cody Chetty, Khaya Zondo, Kyle Abbott, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, David Miller, Daryn Smit (capt), Keshav Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen, Robbie Frylinck, Cameron Delport and Craig Alexander.

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