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‘He was slightly rotund’ – Cook recalls the time Bopara kept wicket

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Alastair Cook, speaking on Barmy Army’s The Shackles Are Off – Cricket Podcast, opened up on his friendship with Ravi Bopara, and how the duo grew up and went on to play for England together.

Cook said Bopara was “slightly rotund” as a kid and would keep wickets. “So we played against each other first,” he said. “He won’t mind me telling you, he was slightly rotund … wicketkeeper. I think quite a few people have seen the photos so he wouldn’t mind me bringing it up.

“And he was a wicketkeeper, and he just stood up to everyone and he was a genius wicketkeeper, because he was so lazy that he can’t be arsed to walk any further. He did say that his dad owned a sweet shop … he must have thought there are a lot of sweets, but I reckon Ravi ate most of them.”

Cook and Bopara played together for Essex for 18 years, but the all-rounder moved to Sussex after the 2019 season, which came as a shock to Cook.

“We played against him, Under-11s or Under-12s in London schools as I was playing for them then. Ever since age-group (cricket), we’ve just kind of grown up together,” said Cook.

“He got his first contract slightly ahead of me, but we have always been like … this is the first year in how many years that I don’t think we’re going to play a game of cricket as he has moved to Sussex. Actually that was a bit of a shock. But yeah, to have someone like him, to play England, played Essex, all the way through, was pretty amazing.”

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