Varun Chopra 'very happy' to be home with Essex and eyeing return to England Lions set-up

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 April 2017

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)

PA Archive/PA Images

Former Warwickshire batsman backs Jamie Porter and Dan Lawrence to impress for Chelmsford-based club in 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)

Varun Chopra is enjoying being back home and hopes a strong season with Essex can help him get back in the England Lions squad after a three-year absence.

The former Ilford County High School pupil began his career at the County Ground before moving to Warwickshire in 2010.

After agreeing a return to his original club at the end of last year, Chopra is aiming to aid his skipper Ryan ten Doeschate as much as possible.

“My job is to score runs and help ‘Tendo’ as much as I can with tactics and the captaincy,” said the Barking-born batsman.

“If I can get myself back into England Lions recognition then I would have had a good season, so that’s my personal aim.”

Chopra has been a consistent performer over the past six years in the County Championship Division One and will hope to continue that form with Essex.

After starting his career in Chelmsford in 2006, Chopra left to join Warwickshire after turning down a new contract.

But after returning towards the end of last season’s title triumph, Chopra, 29, admits it is great to be back in Essex.

He added: “I spent seven years in Birmingham and had a really enjoyable time there, but home is always home. I’m looking forward to bringing everything I learnt at Warwickshire back to Essex.”

Chopra agreed a deal to return to Chelmsford last August, before spending the final month of the season as part of the playing squad at the County Ground – hitting 79 against Glamorgan as they sealed the Division Two title.

Joining Essex early helped the former Ilford cricketer settle back in at his old club, but he was also greeted by several familiar faces.

The likes of Tom Westley, Adam Wheater, ten Doeschate, James Foster, Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara were all part of the squad which Chopra left to join Warwickshire.

“It was good to come in when the squad were on the cusp of winning the Division Two title,” laughed Chopra. “It was a very smooth process and I knew a lot of the boys from previous times over the years.

“To be honest it is like playing with your mates really and a lot of us have come through the academy and been part of squads since we were 13 or 14.

“It can only be a good thing when you progress together to play competitively and I have known most of the lads for around 10 years now. Essex’s trademark has been to produce plenty of local talent and hopefully that continues.”

A glance through the current squad at Chelmsford and you can see Chris Silverwood has several more homegrown stars making their mark.

While Essex will need their senior pros to step up in 2017, their young guns will not be content on playing second fiddle.

Chopra, when asked which upcoming talents may enjoy a big campaign, replied: “We have two local lads in Jamie Porter and Dan Lawrence. They are two typically confident Essex lads and I can see them making their mark this season and doing very well for us.”

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