Melbourne: England centurion Ravi Bopara has said the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped him hone his game after he made his second successive Test hundred against the West Indies at Lord"s.
The 24-year-old all-rounder"s Test-best 118 not out was the cornerstone of England"s 7-289 on the first day of their series opener at Lord"s in what was Bopara"s first Test since he made 104 against the same opponents in Barbados in February.
Bopara, who only recently returned from playing for Kings XI Punjab in the lucrative IPL, defied sceptics who said the short format was no way to prepare for the challenges of Test cricket.
“I wasn"t thinking too much about it (the change from Twenty20 to Tests) in the last couple of days, I felt very relaxed," Bopara said after scoring his second hundred in only the fifth Test of his career.
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“I think sometimes it works to your advantage when you come from a place where you are trying to play positively get into better positions. Sometimes when you are negative, you can poke around a little. My instinct is to hit every ball," the Daily Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
Bopara"s century meant he"d achieved at the first attempt the lifetime ambition of many players of getting his name on the Lord"s dressing room honours board which records all those who"ve made a Test century at the 'home of cricket".
“To have my name on the board, makes me really proud. When you play county matches here, you wonder if your name will ever be up there. It"s the biggest test I"ve had so far and I"ve really enjoyed it," he said.
Bopara now wants to make the No.3 spot his own for the second and final Test of this series and the Ashes campaign that starts in July.
“I hope I go into the next Test batting at three and hopefully for the Ashes," said Bopara, previously a number six for England.