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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

Bopara: Essex ‘always behind’ in disastrous T20 season

PUBLISHED: 14:43 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:43 15 August 2018

Ravi Bopara in action for Essex. Photo: PA

Ravi Bopara in action for Essex. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

As Essex wind up what looks certain to be their worst T20 campaign in the 16-season history of the competition, Ravi Bopara admits the Eagles were underprepared from the start, writes Martin Smith.

Essex have managed a solitary win in their dozen Vitality Blast games to date, and have just tomorrow night’s fixture at Lord’s against fellow back-markers Middlesex (6.15pm), and Kent’s high-flying Spitfires at Chelmsford on Friday (6.30pm), to improve that record.

The Eagles’ previous lowest number of victories in a season is two, and that in both the first two years when they only played five group games.

Since the short-format programme increased to 10 and beyond from 2008, Essex have always won at least five qualifying games, and in a good year as many as 10.

This year’s tally of six points, which keeps them off the bottom of the southern division from equally-woeful Middlesex and Hampshire, is bulked out by three no-results and a tie.

From the opening game it has looked as if Essex had no discernible plan, and the T20 season had caught them on the hop. “It was a bit like that,” says Bopara.

“It happens a little bit just after you’ve won the Championship. You start giving a lot of thought to red-ball cricket, naturally, because you’ve just won the league and you want to defend your title.

“Your focus is red-ball cricket during the winter, how you can improve and win the league again, back to back. You can almost forget about white-ball a little bit and not pay it that much attention.

“It crept up on us and the campaign shows we were a little bit behind.

“We’ve been below-par throughout. Hopefully we can pick it up next year. I back the guys to come out better. We’re going to hopefully focus a lot more on white-ball cricket during the winter, spend more time on it; that would be good for us.”

Assuming he plays these final two matches, Bopara will reach 300 career T20 appearances at Chelmsford. The former England all-rounder, now 33, also needs just one wicket for 200 and 63 runs for 6,000.

Essex return to Championship action at Somerset on Sunday.

Cole Skuse agrees that his team mate and good friend Luke Chambers has probably taken on too much responsibility as Ipswich Town captain.

Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell has ruled out Paul Hurst returning to the club following his recent sacking by Ipswich Town.

More than 500 tickets have been donated for Ipswich Town’s home game against West Brom next Friday evening after one small act of kindness gained online momentum.

Toto Nsiala may currently find himself on the fringes of the Ipswich Town first-team but the central defender continues to make an impact off the field each and every week.

We’ve ranked the home kits of all 24 Championship teams. So who comes out on top?

Andre Dozzell has revealed his frustration as his return to action stalled earlier in the season but the teenager is now hungry for minutes on the field after returning to the first-team picture.

In past columns I have talked about a divide between athletes that earn large amounts of money, and those that do not, and how there is a movement in Ipswich to bring this sporting diversity together.

ANDY WARREN spoke to Ipswich Town No.2 Stuart Taylor about his journey from cleaning Paul Lambert’s boots at St Mirren to assisting him at Portman Road.

Striker Kayden Jackson scored a hat-trick as Ipswich Town defeated QPR 5-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Playford Road this afternoon.

Trevoh Chalobah has been training with the full England squad today ahead of the Three Lions’ clash with the United States tomorrow night.

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