Essex will upset teams in Division One claims experienced batsman Varun Chopra

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 April 2017

Nick Browne and Varun Chopra take to the field for Essex on the first day of the 2017 first-class season against Durham MCCU (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Browne and Varun Chopra take to the field for Essex on the first day of the 2017 first-class season against Durham MCCU (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

29-year-old discusses what Chelmsford-based club can expect to face in the top-flight and their mentality

Varun Chopra (right) celebrates with Chris Wright after Warwickshire's LV County Championship title win in 2012 (pic Nick Potts/PA)Varun Chopra (right) celebrates with Chris Wright after Warwickshire's LV County Championship title win in 2012 (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Varun Chopra believes Essex can surprise a few teams in the County Championship Division One this season and backed their talented squad to avoid relegation.

The Chelmsford-based club have gone straight back down to Division Two on the previous three occasions they have earned promotion.

And even though this is Essex’s first time back in the top-flight since 2010, one of their most experienced players feels they have enough ability to make their mark.

“We are not going into the season thinking we just want to stay up because that is a dangerous mentality to have,” said Chopra, who rejoined the club last year from Warwickshire.

“You have to be positive and try to win games and our coach Chris Silverwood is keen for us to make our presence felt in the division.

“We have a talented squad and if we can take our form from last year into this season then we could surprise a few teams.”

Chopra is one of the few players in the Essex squad with a vast amount of experience in Division One having spent the past six campaigns with Warwickshire.

The 29-year-old will be a beacon of knowledge for the youngsters at the County Ground, who will try to cope in the top tier for the first time.

Varun Chopra of Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Varun Chopra of Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

“Quality is obviously the biggest difference between the two leagues and I think it is a lot more intense in Division One,” said Chopra.

“I didn’t play too much in Division Two last year, so maybe it is unfair for me to offer a comparison on the two, but it is going to be tight.

“Two out of the eight clubs are going to get relegated, so 25 per cent of the teams are going to go down, which is a big number.

“With that in mind, I think it is going to be a real scrap and fight to try and stay up because everyone wants to be in Division One.”

The County Championship has changed format this season, so only eight teams are in Division One while 10 will be in Division Two compared to normally having nine in each.

A strong start could be key to Essex ensuring they do not spend the whole campaign fighting towards the bottom to try and survive.

Silverwood’s team have been boosted by the news that Alastair Cook will be available for the start of the season.

And Chopra is delighted that the ex-England captain can represent his county in the early part of the campaign.

Varun Chopra at the Essex media day in 2006 (pic Empics)Varun Chopra at the Essex media day in 2006 (pic Empics)

Cook misses the Lancashire game with a hip injury, but it is hoped he will make the trips to last season’s runners-up Somerset (April 14) and champions Middlesex (April 21).

“It will definitely be good to have him available. He came away with us to Dubai in March and looked in good nick,” added Chopra.

“He is looking forward to playing some cricket after relinquishing the captaincy and champing at the bite to get out there.

“He has always loved playing for Essex, so will be looking to get us off to a good start before doing well again for England this summer.”

A top order of Cook and Chopra should strike fear into most bowlers in Division One and both will have an important part to play this season.

Essex’s Barking-born batsman has returned home permanently now and is determined to make sure his county remain in the top fight for a lengthy period of time.

Related articles

Latest East London Sports News

The Hammers had to come from behind with goals from Hernandez, Diop and Antonio to beat Cottagers

Yesterday, 17:00

Hammers return to Premier League action at home to Cottagers on Friday

Yesterday, 16:01

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini believes Declan Rice is already England’s best holding midfielder.

Yesterday, 14:00

Tower Hamlets manager AJ Ashanike is not worried about facing title hopefuls Saffron Walden Town this weekend.

Yesterday, 13:00

Matt Withers is joined by George Sessions, Ned Keating and Jacob Ranson to chew over another week in east London football

Yesterday, 11:00

Shadwell resident one of six Community Champions chosen for this year’s Vitality Big Half

Yesterday, 09:00

The O’s head coach praised the quality of Brackley Town ahead of Saturday’s tie

Thu, 15:00

Charlie Lee believes the former Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers striker will prove to be a fine addition


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists