Monday, 13 May 2013

Chat with Chops

Varun Chopra is one of the leading run scorers in England at present. The Warwickshire batsman has scored over a thousand runs for the last two years, and was one of the stars of the side as the Bears won the County Championship last season. With a sparkling 163 for them against the MCC in Abu Dhabi plus a televised hundred against Somerset, he has been making plenty of people sit up and notice him for possible international honours. Some of his shots through the covers of both front and back foot are seriously tasty and whilst we are a fan of his graceful strokeplay, likewise Chops is a fan of our graceful rhetoric on these pages! We caught up with him as he returned from England Lions duty against New Zealand and he spilt the beans on all sorts including Jonathan Trott's dress sense, what Laurie Evans is like when he gets out, and life in Birmingham.

Chops...another ball goes to the cover boundary

TMS: Chops, as a man who has skippered England at Under 19 level, scored 1000 runs in a season for the last two years, is a County Championship winner, is being talked about by some as England material of the future, and is the leading run scorer in England this season in first class cricket, it must be a huge privilege for you to be interviewed by the Middle Stump?

VC: This is definitely up there as my highlight of the season!

TMS: You and a few of the Warwickshire lads have enjoyed our work for a while now, haven’t you?

VC: We have indeed, Mr Piolet and Mr Clarke have both been avid followers of your work.

TMS: We have to say that we are admiring your shots through the covers this year. It’s going well averaging in the fifties again, but I notice that you are only third in the Warwickshire averages behind Woakes and Rikki Clarke with the bat? What do you have to say to that?

VC: They hide down the order. It is a lot harder against the new ball! Haha.

TMS: You seem to have been around for years but are still only 25 I noticed. Are you the Benjamin Button of County cricket?

VC: Haha, I was lucky to get given opportunities at a young age for Essex and also lucky to inherit a young looking face from my parents.

Edgbaston...great facilities

TMS: What would you say that we are advising our supporters to put their mortgages on you getting 1000 runs before the end of May? 

VC: As a strict PCA law abiding citizen, I cannot give any advice on betting on cricket!

TMS: How are all the lads at Warwickshire this year? Piolet dancing the same? Any Aqib Javed nonsense?

VC: Lads are all good thanks.

TMS: How does living in Birmingham compare to East London where you are from originally?

VC: You can take the boy out of East London but you can't take the East London out of the boy springs to mind! I have settled nicely in the Midlands now, it helps being two hours from everywhere, and of course the great facilities at Edgbaston.

Trott shows off his cutting edge fashion sense!

TMS: So, who is your worst dressed team mate?

VC: Jonathan Trott

TMS: Who do you have to be wary of when they are out for a low score?

VC: Laurie Evans....we have to remove his shoelaces sometimes!

TMS: Worst/Best drinker?

VC: The best is Graeme 'Pop' Welch and the worst is Steff Piolet! 

TMS: Quickest you have faced?

VC: Dirk Nannes the left armer, swinging it under lights at Lord's. It wasn't too pleasant! 

TMS: No opening bat ever admits bricking it, but have you ever thought “Shit, I’m going to die here” and who was the bowler?

VC: Trying to face Big Boyd Rankin in the nets, where everything is obviously enclosed, often without a sightscreen and you have this giant running in at you with a new pill!

Big Boyd

TMS: Best spell you have ever faced?

VC: Any spell from Dave Masters or Dimi Mascerenhas, they have it on a piece of string!

TMS: Best food on the circuit?

VC: Lord's, still number one with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge closely behind

TMS: Best sledge heard?

VC: Like the story of Mark Waugh sledging Jimmy Ormond, until Jimmy had obviously had enough and replied "I may not be the best, but at least I'm the best in my family"

TMS: I know at Warwickshire you are sponsored by Sk:in and we also have close links with the charity Factor 50. What do you think of the work that these guys are doing with regards to skin cancer and melanoma?

VC: It's fantastic. The amount of time we spend under the Currant Bun, it is very important that we look after our skin and get regularly checked out.

TMS: What are the chances of seeing you on a plane to go to Australia this winter?

VC: I try not to look too far ahead, but hopefully more runs and some silverware will make it a good year, then let the other things look after themselves.

TMS: Best banter from team mate?

VC: Chris Wright provides somewhat unique bant which I enjoy. A peculiar individual!

Chops gaining some "unique bant" from Chris Wright

TMS: Best banter from opponent?

VC: Steve Kirby is never shy of a word of two, so enjoy the battles with him!

TMS: Best three youngsters coming through in England?

VC: Chris Woakes (if he still counts), an adopted Aussie and Warwicks batter Sam Hain. Lastly, a fiery ginger, all rounder Tommy Milnes.

TMS: Chops, we wish you well mate, hope to come up to Edgbaston to see you soon, and are desperate for you to get those runs before the end of May, hopefully leading to bigger and better things.

VC: Cheers guys, speak to you soon!

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