Ravi Bopara is a cricketer who represents both Essex and England. After impressing as a schoolboy, he earned his first professional contract aged 17 in 2002. He was destined for a career at the top after a solid showing for England in the under-19 World Cup in 2003. Originally a top-order batsman, his developing medium pace bowling has made him a vital all-rounder for England since his ODI debut in February 2007. His performances led to a call up to the Test squad and he made his debut later that year.
In 2009, Ravi was selected for the back-to-back series against the West Indies. In the first innings he scored his maiden Test century with 104 off 143 balls before strangely missing out on selection for the following Test. In the first test of the home series he scored his second consecutive Test century, scoring 143 runs from 186 balls. He then scored an incredible third century in the second Test, becoming only the fifth England player to score three consecutive centuries for England.
2011 proved to be another excellent season on both international and domestic levels. His performances in the County Championship, where he had already hit a couple of centuries, saw him selected for the Ashes series. He was replaced for the final test by Jonathan Trott. Undeterred, he came back to hit a career best score in the ODI against South Africa of 96. He was fittingly named Man of the Match for his performance.
2013 saw Ravi return to the England set-up where he played a pivotal role in guiding England to the final of the Champions Trophy narrowly losing to India. He capped a fine 2013 season by being acknowledged as England’s ODI Player of the Year at the PCA Awards. 2014 was also a busy year for Ravi, representing the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League in Australia, playing a crucial role in helping them reach the BBL03 semi-finals.
Throughout January and February, Ravi also played for the Englsnd ODI and T20 teams. Despite losing the series to Australia, Ravi impressed with fantastic bowling figures and recorded the fastest ever half century by an England player in a T20 match, scoring 65 runs in 23 balls including seven sixes. This adds to another record for Bopara, with the Essex man currently having the best bowling figures by an Englishman in a T20 International with 4/10. In 2015, Ravi joined the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL before being named Essex's one-day captain in 2016. Ravi started this year in fine form, putting in some brilliant all-round performances for the Karachi Kings in the PSL, eventually being crowned PSL's man of the tournament.