When Ravi Bopara joins up with the England squad on Friday before departing to the Caribbean for the short tour of the West Indies he will leave his business ventures at home with his family looking after his duo of chicken shops.
Yes, that’s right Bopara owns two fast food restaurants in London as he looks to a career to complement his cricket as he approaches his 100th One Day International for England.
The 28-year-old all-rounder has a pair of shops under his wings called Sam’s Chicken, with the outlets being part of a larger business model which incorporates almost 40 restaurants in London and Birmingham.
Bopara is an unconventional cricketer on and off the pitch with his swashbuckling style with the bat and variety of deliveries with the ball, the man from East Ham has decided the time is right to give back to his family and his local community.
The Essex man is often seen in the East Ham branch where his brother, cousin and father work, something that he is incredibly proud of as he admitted in an exclusive interview with GiveMeSport.
“That was one of the main reasons to do this, planting the seed for my family and making sure they have secure jobs and all that kind of stuff. You know what it’s like out there now, hundreds of people are competing for the same job. This gives them the security, puts some money in their pockets so they can live so that was a big motivation of mine.
“That’s just something I had to do, almost as my duty after being the guy that’s been lucky enough to go on and do something in the cricketing world. I’m lucky enough to have this life so I want to help my family out.”
Although Bopara was keen to stress that cricket is his priority, he opened his Tooting branch in 2012 before extending into East London last year and he says keeping his eyes open for opportunities away from the cricket field interests him.
“I want to concentrate on cricket but once they are set up they run themselves but I feel like I have two now and there are other opportunities out there so I don’t want to stick my eggs all in one basket," Bopara admitted to GiveMeSport.
“I wouldn’t mind doing something else too. This is my get away from cricket, something a little different. There are other things to invest in, you have to stay on the ball and look at what is the next thing out there.”
The England international will fly out to Bangladesh as part of the World T20 squad when the six game tour of the Caribbean concludes on 13th March and he will be aiming to compete in his fourth T20 World Cup.
Speaking from his East Ham branch on Barking Road, Bopara was keen to reiterate how proud he was to be from East London and claimed it was a lifetime ambition to own a chicken shop.
“I promise you its half a mile, straight down this road is where I used to hang out there every day. Near Upton Park but it’s still East Ham so that’s where I grew up.
“I am friends with the owner who is called Sam and he started many years ago and just thinking ahead I thought it was something I could invest in. Being an East London boy as well, this is me. I always said from a young age that I wanted a chicken shop.
“I remember when I was saying it when I was about 14 and I said to my mates that we’re going to own a chicken shop one day because all we used to eat was chicken, so we wanted to sit and eat our own chicken without having to pay for it.”
For more information and locations of Sam’s Chicken click here.