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Ravi Bopara hits out at the culture of English cricket

Ravi Bopara has hit out at the culture of English cricket and the fear of failure that contributed to the national team’s dismal performances at the World Cup.

“We need to stop being so English. We are really English at times and it feels institutionalised,” he said. “We need to change our culture and we need to change it quickly.”

Despite having batted at No6 in the buildup matches, Bopara was left out of the England side during the World Cup until after they had been eliminated. The decision to change the team at the last minute before the first match was one that Bopara found frustrating and baffling.

“The World Cup was really frustrating for everybody but especially on a personal note. I would love to have played,” the all-rounder said at an event to promote the Chance to Shine street cricket programme at The Oval. “Leading up to the World Cup we had a settled team and we were all ready. We were quite chilled. And then things just changed all of a sudden and I don’t know why.”

“I was surprised [by the team changes] though and I was disappointed. I got angry – very angry. Angry with myself and with the guys that made the decision. I said to myself then, ‘Right, from now on I’m going to move ahead and be better than the rest’.

“The reason I was given was because they said they weren’t going to use my bowling so there was no point me playing. It’s just so frustrating, even sitting here now I am thinking I had no opportunity to make an impact on that World Cup."


I would rather have played and had a shocker than not played at all. 

Asked where he thinks the blame should lie for England’s failure Bopara was keen not to point the finger at anyone specific but said: “We should develop braver players and stop fearing; there is a sense of fear in the team which we need to get rid of. We need to be a bit more free as players, to stop worrying about the consequences. If you look at other countries they are more open about things and more honest about things. Take the example of the India team eating a McDonald’s on the outfield here last summer. What’s wrong with that? They were not worried about how they looked – they were hungry and they wanted to eat.

“For too long we have been worried about what people think of us. We should be honest with everyone; say it straight up. We weren’t good enough in the World Cup. Other teams have developed their skills a lot faster than we have because they were honest enough to say it earlier.”

Inevitably the discussion turned to the subject of whether England are too reliant on statistics and data. Bopara’s view is refreshingly straightforward: “You don’t need data to know what’s going on,” he said. “South Africa scoring 400, Australia scoring 400, you don’t need the data. You don’t check what over they start going in, you just know you need to get 350.

“We need now to develop our games to that level where we are taking those high risks to get those scores like other teams. They are scoring six an over and then crashing it at the end. We need to start doing that and we need to stop limiting ourselves. I think wedo limit ourselves as English cricketers and I think the system limits us.”

Ravi Bopara was speaking at a Chance to Shine Street event supported by Lycamobile, who back the programme as part of their mission to bring communities together.

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