Taking advantage of a couple of days holiday over the Easter period, I watched a bit of IPL today (unusual for me), in the shape of Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Noticing that Kevin Pietersen and Ravi Bopara were involved, it gave me an added incentive to watch and see how they both got on. Both did well with the bat, KP hit a typically explosive 66 not out to win the match, while Bopara batted sensibly, rotating the strike on his way to 42 not out, off 33 balls.
Towards the end of the match a comment made by Geoff Miller earlier this week flashed into my mind.
“Our fielding, which is such a vital aspect of limited-overs cricket, has improved markedly and there’s no reason we can’t perform well in what will be a challenging global tournament.”
My lasting memory of Ravi Bopara’s, Ashes summer, (besides his batting), was the ridiculous catch he dropped at Edgbaston on the Friday morning, costing England around 25 runs if my memory serves me right. His fielding in general was very slack.
Judging by the fielding performance from Bopara (and his Punjab team in general), I hope his batting has improved, because his fielding certainly hasn’t. A joke of a misfield was compounded by a dropped catch off Kevin Pietersen, one that arguably cost them the match.
The one thing that stood out to me about Bopara last year, was a slack, casual attitude towards his allround game. From what I seen today, that casualness still appears to be there.
On top of the fielding, on the last ball when he was at the non strikers end, Brett Lee smashed the ball to the boundary, and he and Bopara appeared to be standing admiring rather than getting on with running, costing their team (what could have been) one valuable run, at least.
Maybe that seems a bit critical, but I found these little things the most frustrating about Bopara in the past. It these lapses that let him down, and probably affects his batting as well. He is a decent, talented cricketer, but until he sorts out these issues I don’t think he will ever realise his full potential.