Essex fans can look forward to the sight of Ravi Bopara continuing his relationship with the county next season.
That is the anticipation of Essex first team coach Paul Grayson who told TME that the county are close to completing the deal with the player.
“The problem is down to the amount of agreed compensation from the IPL(Indian Premier League) and PCA (Professional Cricketers’ Association) and that currently is the stumbling block for a number of lads who are due to be playing in the IPL,” Grayson explained.
“Ravi is on an Incremental Contract with the ECB and although we are more than happy for him to go and play in that competition he is going to be penalised financially for being away from Essex and so the IPL, PCA and ECB are discussing what the compensation will be.
“It will be the same for every county player going out there next year, not just Ravi Bopara. At the moment, whoever goes to the IPL will be penalised.”
The delay in putting pen to paper had fuelled speculation that the talented 25-year-old all-rounder might be ready for a move away from the county who nurtured him from an early age.
However, with an extended two-year deal on the table, Grayson expects Bopara to be an integral part of the side looking to regain their first division place in addition to continuing as an effective and competitive one-day side.
“I’ve had a number of chats with Ravi in the last couple of weeks and the delay is nothing cricket-related or to do with Essex being back in Division Two. It’s just that he wants to sort out this question of compensation,” Grayson added.
“All the cricketing matters have been discussed with him, he’s quite happy and he’s very motivated to come back to us and help us get back into first division County Championship cricket again.”
Essex batting coach Graham Gooch is also confident that Bopara will continue to be part of the Essex scene in 2011.
Gooch told BBC Essex: “As I understand it, when I spoke to him, he is going to sign for Essex. He’s not always the best organised of players, so getting him at a table with a pen in his hand is maybe a little bit more difficult.
“I’ve every confidence he will remain an Essex player. He’s now got to go on to another phase in his career. He’s had England recognition but he now needs to nail down a regular place. He has the talent and he’s now got to show the consistency.”