Cricket: Bopara to leave Essex
PUBLISHED: 13:30 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:30 16 October 2019
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Essex have confirmed that Ravi Bopara is set to leave the county after failing to agree terms on a new contract.
Bopara has decided to pursue a fresh challenge after rejecting a new and improved contract and the club have wished him the best of luck in his future playing career.
The 34-year-old has been an unbelievable servant to the club since coming through the Essex youth system, spending 18 years in the ranks after making his first-class debut in 2002 at just 17 years old.
He was awarded his county cap in 2005, before being named Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year three years later in 2008.
Bopara has been widely acclaimed as one of the most reliable and consistent batsmen to have played county cricket and scored 11,148 first-class runs for Essex at an average of 42.06, with his highest score of 229 coming against Northamptonshire at Chelmsford in 2007.
He leaves the club having played a total of 499 games for Essex across all formats, scoring 101 half-centuries and converting 37 of them into three-figure scores.
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He was a fundamental part of the club's recent triumphs, including the Pro40 League in 2005 and 2006, NatWest Trophy in 2008, Specsavers County Championship Division Two title in 2016 and the Specsavers County Championship Division One titles in 2017 and 2019.
Most notably, Bopara leaves the club on the back on a number of inspiring performances in the 2019 Vitality Blast T20 campaign. In typical Bopara fashion, his innings of 36 not out off 22 balls in the final against Worcestershire Rapids helped the Essex Eagles lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
Whilst at Essex, he made 13 Test, 39 T20 and 120 ODI appearances for England, and notably hit three successive centuries against West Indies in 2009.
He featured for England in their 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cup campaigns as well as the 2014 T20 World Cup.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate said: "I speak for the team when I say we are very sad to see Rav leave the club after 18 years.
"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."
A statement added: "The club would like to thank Ravi for his fantastic contribution during his time at the club and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours."