x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Wiser of Indian conditions, Bopara is keen to do well for England

Having comes as a replacement, the all-rounder wants to make the most of his chances and knowledge from having played in the IPL.

BANGALORE // Ravi Bopara is hoping to earn a regular place for himself in the England side after being called up as a replacement for injured batsman Eoin Morgan at the World Cup.

Bopara told reporters today it was "a big opportunity to get back into the side" - two days after his unbeaten 30 ensured a six-wicket win over Netherlands in its Group B opener at Nagpur.

England was set a tough target of 293 by the Netherlands and was running close to the asking rate before Bopara produced a 20-ball cameo display in which he hit two fours and a six. England won with eight balls to spare.

Now Bopara and his teammates are preparing to face probably their toughest match of the groups stage - against co-host and tournament favorite India at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

"I have got two opportunities so far, one in the warmup game and then in the opening match. I am just trying to do my best in every practice session," the 25-year-old batsman said.

"If you are doing well in the nets, batting well and bowling well, I have got a good chance of making the side."

Whatever the team selection, Bopara expects a good batting contest against India.

"It is a good wicket to bat on especially against the seamers," he said. "It slides on to the bat quite nicely. Last time I played in Bangalore it did not spin. It's going to be a good game."

Bopara believes the experience of turning out for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League will help his cause during the World Cup.

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"I know what the pitch is likely to do in the subcontinent. IPL has definitely made me a better player and more confident," said Bopara, who lost his England place after not performing well in the 2009 Ashes series.

"I played that Ashes after scoring three successive 100s and I expected too much from myself and it didn't work out," he said. "I have done a lot of work since Ashes not only on test cricket but ODIs as well.

"Playing in different countries makes a massive difference - South African conditions, New Zealand and obviously India. I have not put too much pressure on myself now."

Though slow bowlers are expected to play a big role in the World Cup, England spinner Graeme Swann feels Indian pitches don't systematically help spin bowling.

"People always say that spin plays a massive part, and wickets turn square over here. They don't," said Swann, who took 2-35 in England's first match.

"Against Holland there was a little bit of spin, but it wasn't huge," said the offspinner.

Swann also said he preferred bowling in tandem with another spin bowler.

"Personally I'd always go in with two spinners anywhere in the world - because I'm a spin bowler and love having a spin twin at the other end," he said.