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England can hurt India on turner, says Bopara


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ASHES-WINNING England have spinners who can cause a headache for India if Sunday (February 27)’s World Cup match is played on a turning track, batsman Ravi Bopara said today.

“If it is a spinning deck we have got our own spinners who can cause problems. A pitch that spins is going to cause trouble for any team. It is going to cause problems for India as well,” said Bopara.

“A lot is going to depend on the conditions. If the conditions don’t suit spin we don’t have to worry about it. It is going to be a good game.”

India are expected to include a second specialist spinner against England, especially after the success of their slow men against defending champions Australia in a warm-up game at the same venue.

England, who meet India in the day-night match in Bangalore on Sunday, are seeking their second successive victory after having defeated the Netherlands in Nagpur on Tuesday (February 22).

Off-spinner Graeme Swann was England’s most successful bowler with 2-35 off 10 tight overs, but their overall bowling performance was below par as they conceded 292 against the non-Test-playing nation.

“We were not our usual self the other day. But there are a lot of positives from that game, particularly the chase,” said Bopara.

“A total of 293 is a big score against any side, especially in India where the wickets get slower and lower. It is harder to bat. We batted brilliantly especially at the top.”

Bopara also played a key role in England’s big chase, smashing a 20-ball 30 with one six and two fours.

“It (the knock against the Netherlands) does help the confidence. I felt a bit relaxed when I went in the other night. We always knew we were going to win the game, but I had to ensure I was there till the end to finish it off.”

India boast of exciting stroke-players in Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but Bopara said his team had plans to keep pressure on the hosts’ batting line-up.

“This is one of our toughest challenges in this tournament. We know what the Indian batsman are capable of, but we do have our plans to keep them quiet,” said Bopara, who has so far scored 1,170 runs in 55 one-day internationals.

“Every match is big for us. Even the game the other night was big. Playing India in India is going to be huge. It’s going to be massive for the fans. All the boys are looking forward to it.

“We have plans against each bowler and batsman but it is how the batsmen feel on the day. We generally play aggressive cricket. We know in places like Bangalore, there can be high totals like 270-300.”

Bopara said he was looking forward to playing a big match before a sizeabale holiday crowd.

“I have played in this atmosphere before in the IPL (Indian Premier League). It is very, very noisy. You struggle to have a conversation with a player on the field but it is fun,” he said.

“The crowd are enjoying it. At the end of the day you are an entertainer and you want them to enjoy. When you set yourself high standards you don’t drift away. The crowd does pump you up.”

Bopara, who replaced injured Eoin Morgan at the last moment for a place in the World Cup squad, said he was keen to make the most of the opportunity.

“It is a big opportunity to get back into the side. I have got two opportunities so far, one in the warm-up game and then in the opening match,’ Bopara said, adding his Indian idol was Tendulkar.


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