Kevin Pietersen claims Ravi Bopara used to be afraid to bowl at him in the nets while the two were together on England duty. But the Essex man, as proven in their last encounter, says he has overcome any fear he might have harboured.
Bopara was speaking exclusively to GiveMeSport in response to a question posed by Pietersen on Facebook, who had asked his former international colleague why he was reluctant to bowl to him in practice sessions.
But Pietersen was soon put back in his place by Bopara, who pointed out that he was able to dismiss the former England batsman the last time they met on the field during the county season, representing Essex and Surrey respectively.
“I don’t know if you remember KP, but the last time I bowled to you I got you out,” Bopara said.
“And it only took one ball, I didn’t even have to ball a second ball at you.
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“I know you’re going to claim that you wanted me to have the wicket to help me out. But, let’s be honest, I outfoxed you with a slower ball.”
Bopara does concede that Pietersen did used to bully him somewhat during net sessions with some big hitting off his slower balls. But, when it mattered in the cauldron of competition, Pietersen was found wanting.
“He used to smack by slower ball for six in the nets all the time but, out in the middle, it’s a different ball game,” Bopara added.
“It’s a different challenge and he wasn’t up to it.”
This friendly rivalry between Bopara and Pietersen will, barring some unexpected turn of events, now be restricted to the domestic circuit, with the latter having been controversially ousted from the England set-up.
Pietersen was finally able to lift the lid on his sacking in his recently released autobiography, with the batsman claiming he has, of yet, not been provided with a clear reason why his international career came to such an abrupt conclusion.
Bopara, meanwhile, will be in the England squad for their ODI tour of Sri Lanka that begins later this month, and will be hoping to retain his position for the World Cup in early 2015.
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