Warwickshire batsman Varun Chopra can already claim to be in fine form even though the new season is more than a month away, having scored two centuries during his recent stint playing first-class cricket in Sri Lanka.
The opener played four matches for Tamil Union in Sri Lanka’s Premier Championship and topped and tailed his four-match stint with a double century against Sinhalese Sports Club and 192 against the Nondescripts.
Chopra was in Sri Lanka as part of the Potential England Performance Programme squad and his performances were reminiscent of last year when he began the season with double centuries in each of Warwickshire’s first two County Championship matches against Somerset and Worcestershire.
“They play a different brand of cricket in Sri Lanka. Obviously the conditions are very different with the heat and humidity but the tactics are also different,” Chopra said.
“They quite often open the bowling with a spinner with the new ball and they are not very patient. The style of cricket in England is more about wearing the opposition down. In Sri Lanka they are very aggressive which means they either score quickly or lose wickets very quickly.
“I’ve been to that part of the world before with England Under-19s so I had experienced the conditions before, but playing first-class cricket in another country is great opportunity for anyone and I really enjoyed it.”
Chopra will now have a short break from cricket before he accompanies Warwickshire on their pre-season trip to Barbados next month.
Warwickshire will play Derbyshire at Derby in a two-day friendly when they return home followed by a three-day encounter with Cardiff MCCU at Edgbaston on April 6 ahead of their opening County Championship match against Somerset on April 12.
Despite his flying start to last season Chopra did not pass 1,000 runs until late in the campaign and he is working with a sports psychologist in an attempt to ensure that he builds on his flying start to this year.
“Things happen for a reason, there’s a reason why I score runs and a reason why I don’t score runs,” he said.
“I’ve been working with a sports psychologist and on the technical side of my game to make sure that I get into form a bit quicker and stay in form longer.
“The technical and mental sides go hand in hand. If you search into something technically it affects the mental side of your game. Often if you neglect the technical side of your game no matter how mentally tough or confident you feel, if your technique is not up to scratch you will get out.”