Test Match Sofa
Essex receive a Bopara boost
By Paul Hiscock
Ravi Bopara's disappointment at not attracting interest at the Indian Premier League auction for the second successive year is, however, a boost to Essex's early-season prospects.
All-rounder Bopara's availability goes a long way to counter-balancing the fact that the county will be without both Owais Shah and Ryan ten Doeschate for the first two months of the 2013 domestic campaign due to IPL commitments.
Shah and Ten Doeschate are again involved with Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively, but Essex had been preparing to face up to the opening weeks of the new county campaign without Bopara too.
Now the 27-year-old's availability will boost the county's hopes of staking an early claim to be considered as realistic contenders for promotion from the County Championship second division.
Although he played for Kings XI Punjab in the 2009 and 2010 tournaments, Bopara declined to play the following year in order to improve his chances of securing his place in the England Test side.
Meanwhile, Essex have appointed a new chief executive to replace David East who left the post at the end of December after 12 years in the role.
Derek Bowden will take up the post early in the season, bringing a wealth of experience from both the business and sporting worlds. Born in 1956, he was appointed chief executive at Ipswich Town in 2002 and joined the club's board six months later.
During his time at Portman Road he successfully restructured the finances of the Championship side, spearheading commercial activities while also managing the playing budget. He left the club in May 2009 and was appointed deputy chairman of Ipswich Building Society in December 2011. Between 1982 and 2001, he held various senior management roles within Saatchi & Saatchi.
"I'm really looking forward to joining the team at Essex and working with them to create the success that Essex Cricket deserves," he said.
Nigel Hilliard, the Essex chairman, said: "Derek has a wealth of experience in the commercial and sporting world, which will be of great benefit to the club at a time when we are embarking on a major redevelopment of The Essex County Ground. Once completed the stadium will be a fitting centrepiece to the new City of Chelmsford."
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