ESSEX COUNTY CRICKET CLUB has confirmed that popular all-rounder, Ravi Bopara, is to leave the club after failing to agree on terms on a new contract at the Cloudfm County Ground.
The 34-year-old will join Sussex for the 2020 season after helping Essex to a Specsavers County Championship and Vitality Blast double. Bopara’s departure ends an 18-year career with the club – he made his debut as a 17-year-old back in 2002.
Skipper, Ryan ten Doeschate, told www.essexcricket.org: “I speak for the team when I say we are very sad to see Rav leave the club after 18 years.
During a glittering career with Essex, Bopara also shone on the international stage, making 13 Test, 39 T20 and 120 ODI appearances for England – featuring for his county during their 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cup campaigns along with the 2014 T20 World Cup.
“Rav has always been extremely popular in the dressing room, combining unbelievable talent, skill, hard work, and a great cricket mind with a friendly, witty and comical demeanour.
“He’s been a great teammate and a fiercely loyal friend. I’m so pleased that he leaves on a high after playing the key role in the club winning our first T20 title. It will be strange to play against him next year, but we wish him all the very best at his new Club.”
Bopara spoke to the Sussex official website after linking up with the club, saying: “I want to thank Sussex for this opportunity. It is a great chance to play under a respected and acknowledged coach like Jason Gillespie and with a very strong and talented team of players, many of whom will no doubt go on to receive international honours.
“On a personal note, I have a burning desire to achieve greater things in this wonderful game. I will now put a greater emphasis on T20 cricket. I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been and playing my best cricket.
“I want to emphasise that I am not giving up red-ball cricket but I will, for now, play less of it to find time in the calendar year to up-skill in T20 and take my game to a new level as I still have a drive to play international cricket.
“Here’s to the future and hopefully another decade of happy and successful times.”