Source - sportinglife.com
England all-rounder Ravi Bopara has turned down a lucrative offer to play in the Indian Premier League in a bid to cement his place in the national side.
Hampshire skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas is currently England's only representative in the big-money Twenty20 competition and, although the event currently clashes with the county season, established stars like Kevin Pietersen and Ryan Sidebottom have declared their interest in participating in future editions.
Unlike them, Bopara is not centrally contracted to the ECB and would be free to pursue a contract with one of the eight IPL franchises if an agreement was reached with his county, Essex.
But he has turned down a substantial six-figure contract from an unnamed side in favour of remaining with the Division Two outfit, where he has enjoyed a prolific start to the season.
Bopara said: "Of course when figures like these are put in front of you it is tempting, but my goal is to play regularly for England so I am confident that if I continue to score runs and take wickets for Essex then I will hopefully play for England this summer and for many years to come.
"If I do this, and with the current talk of new competitions and one off matches to sit alongside the IPL, then I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the financial benefits in years to come."
Bopara has scored 341 runs in three LV County Championship innings and also tops the team's bowling averages, with six wickets at an average of 18.
That has raised hopes of furthering his international ambitions this summer after a winter which saw him make his Test debut in Sri Lanka before being discarded for the New Zealand leg of the tour after three Tests.
The 23-year-old is already seen as a key part of the one-day set-up and his decision to remain in England rather than give into the temptation of a bumper pay day for four weeks work on the sub-continent is sure to go down well with the ECB.
They have already sought to lessen the chances of defection to India through talks with Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford over a series of one-off challenge matches against a West Indies XI as well as opening negotiations over the possibility of a rival English Premier League.