Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook

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Bopara and Cook - like chalk and a totally different piece of chalkRavi 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.


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  1. Ravi used to be a bit podgy but you couldn’t describe him as podgy now. Are you confusing him with Samit Patel or Rob Key, KC?

  2. And, aren’t you confusing the West Indies with a proper test-quality attack? I’d love to see Bopara succeed against the Aussies, but I get the feeling that Cook might end up looking the stronger by the end of the summer.

  3. By the way, have you seen Ravi Bopara’s complete list of test match scores:

    8, 34, 0, 0, 0, 104, 143, 108

    Now I’m no statistician, but something odd does seem to strike you in those numbers. He only ever gets scores that use 0s, 1s, 3s, 4s and 8s. That’s presumably why he has so much confidence when he reaches 85 – there is only one score that it’s physically possibly for him to get out on before his ton, so he is able to bat with complete freedom.

    Isn’t science great?

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