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Vitality Blast interview: Ravi Bopara

Samuel Brady from Sussex World spoke to Sussex Sharks' new Vitality Blast captain Ravi Bopara about his record in the T20 format – and the challenges ahead of the team this summer.

Ravi Bopara says he is ‘honoured’ be captaining Sussex’s T20 side for the 2022 Vitality Blast season.

The 37-year-old takes over from previous skipper Luke Wright, who stepped down from the role after seven years leading the Sharks.

Bopara is rich in experience, having played over 400 games in T20 cricket across stints with the likes of Essex and Sussex and, abroad, in the PSL and BPL. That's something which led to Sussex T20 head coach James Kirtley labelling his appointment as captain ‘obvious’.

Bopara said: “I’m honoured, that’s the first and foremost reaction. I’m honoured to be given it, or even asked, to be the captain. Obviously I'm really excited about the season because given the squad, I feel like this could be a real golden period for Sussex in T20 cricket.

“I think it’s important to say I’ve inherited a good squad that’s been built by Sussex by James Kirtley and the great job that Luke Wright did all those years, so I think the credit should go to those guys.”

Bopara said he would enjoy the responsibility of the skipper's role and he had gained experience having played under some top-class leaders during his career.

He said: “Naturally you would lean on that experience having played under some great captains over the years, learning from them and bringing that all into my captaincy.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play under some very good captains and I’ve learned a lot from them, so hopefully I can bring that through to the Sussex side.”

Bopara was part of the Essex Eagles squad that won the Vitality Blast back in 2019, and he feels believes he can help replicate that success with Sussex:

“I feel confident we can bring that trophy to Sussex. It’s not going to be easy because when you get down to that last eight it’s a lottery really."

The Sharks were defeated by eventual winners Kent on finals day last year, something which Rbopara put down to errors in key parts of the game:

“On finals day I think we just got it wrong in moments of the game. It did take a very good individual innings from one of the Kent batters who played really well on the day.

“We made a few little errors, and that’s thing with T20. It’s always just small little snippets in the game, if you get them right you go on and win but if you get them wrong then it can look horrible, and you lose but that’s just life."

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