Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook have batted together for Essex for ten years or so. They make an odd, but effective, couple.
Cook’s a gangling left-handed posho who’s lumpen at the crease and nervy in front of the camera. Bopara’s a podgy, right-handed bloke, who’s often aggressive at the crease and calm in front of the camera – quite possibly because he’s pretty much oblivious to what’s going on.
Both scored hundreds. Both are therefore ace.
If we had to choose between them, we’d go for Ravi and not just because he’s scored three hundreds in three Test innings, although that’s pretty persuasive.
We like the way he smiles and stares into space when he’s asked a question he can’t answer, totally unarsed by what should be an uncomfortable situation. He does the same thing at the crease when he edges a ball. In both situations, he just waits to see what happens next. It’s like he doesn’t even remember the previous minute.
We find it encouraging and even inspiring that ‘being unaware of what’s going on around you’ can be a strength.