Ravi Bopara is expected to play a vital role for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2015
Ravi Bopara is expected to play a vital role for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2015

He made his international debut back in 2007 and has not only opened the innings for England but has provided strength in the middle-order too. Ravi Bopara has been part of the England One-Day International (ODI) squad for almost eight years now and has batted at eight different positions for England in ODIs. Making his Indian Premier League (IPL) return after last playing in 2010, Bopara spoke to Sudatta Mukherjee about his playing role.

Sudatta Mukherjee (SM): For most part of your career, you have been regarded as a finisher. But for your previous team in IPL, you have opened the batting. This season you are playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Which role you are expected to play for them?

Ravi Bopara (RB): I think the role I am going to play here would probably be the middle-order role. May be batting at No. 5 or No. 6. I am pretty sure that is where I will get the opportunity, which is fine for me. That is what the team requires and I am happy to do that as long as we are winning. That is the most important thing for me.

SM: SRH have an excellent mix of foreign and Indian players. So as a team, what are your expectations this season?

RB: I have not had the chance to look at the other teams as much. But obviously it does not matter. The most important thing is that we do what we can do well. We have got a strong bowling line-up. I expect us to be chasing low scores, keeping teams down to low scores. We have also got some fiery batsmen as well. It is looking like an exciting team. A good team to be involved with.

SM: David Warner is a very energetic player on the field. How will he shape up as a leader?

RB: I have not played under David Warner. I have played against him and yes he is a fiery character. It will be interesting to see how he leads the team and I am backing him fully. He has played enough cricket, he has played in six seasons of IPL to know what is going on. Should be a very interesting time for everybody in Hyderabad.

SM: What does it mean to have someone like VVS Laxman as the mentor?

RB: I was quite excited when I saw that he was going to part of the team. He is somebody I grew up watching and is admired greatly as a batsman. He played in era with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly and these were the batsmen I watched when I was young, so it is great be alongside someone like him. It is a great honour.

SM: Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not have an impressive ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Bhuvneshwar played only one match and Steyn had an average World Cup. Do you think it will affect their IPL performances?

RB: No I don’t think so. These two are great performers on the big stage. A bad tournament here and there does not matter. These two have great records in IPL. They are pretty good players and I am sure they will be efficient. They will show everybody how good a player they are.

SM: Will Kevin Pietersen’s absence be a big blow for Sunrisers Hyderabad?    

RB: I think having someone like KP would be nice. But we have got it managed. We have covered all the basics anyway. It would have been nice and different if he was here but we have to live without him being here and we have got a good back-up, who can do the job.

SM: Do you think more English players should play in IPL to improve their ODI standards, especially after the World Cup?

RB: Yes I think it is important for English players to play some T20 cricket around the world. There is a big change in cricket taking place. It has taken place over the last three-four years. We have seen the effect of T20 cricket in 50-over cricket now. Unfortunately, for England we do not get exposed to the foreign leagues as much rest of the world and it shows in our performance and it is about time that we go out and start doing that to catch up with the rest of the world.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English television show on her laptop. Her Twitter handle is @blackrosegal)