Ravi Bopara aiming to gatecrash next year's Twenty20 World Cup having not played for England since 2015
Ravi Bopara is aiming to gatecrash next year's Twenty20 World Cup after leaving reigning champions Essex to join Sussex.
The 34-year-old has not played for England in any format since the 2015 World Cup but has not given up hope of making the next global 20-over event in Australia this time next year.
Last month, Bopara was instrumental in Essex's Vitality Blast triumph and his late-career switch to the south coast from his boyhood club has triggered a change of pace.
The 34-year-old has not played for England in any format since the 2015 World Cup (Pic 2012)
His County Championship appearances are set to become more sporadic from 2020 onwards.
'On a personal note I have a burning desire to achieve greater things in this wonderful game. I will now put a greater emphasis on T20 cricket. I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been and playing my best cricket,' Bopara said.
'I want to emphasise that I am not giving up red-ball cricket but I will, for now, play less of it to find time in the calendar year to up-skill in T20 and take my game to a new level as I still have a drive to play international cricket.
Bopara of Essex reacts during the Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey
'Here's to the future and hopefully another decade of happy and successful times.'
In addition to his impressive end-of-innings finishing ability with the bat, Bopara is the most prolific English bowler in Twenty20 history with 221 dismissals.
'I'm really, really excited about having Ravi Bopara join us at Sussex. It's a bit of a coup for us to be perfectly honest: what a wonderful player Ravi has been for England and Essex for a long, long time,' said Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie.
'His knowledge and experience are going to be invaluable in our dressing room. He's a great lad and we're very thankful that Ravi has decided to join us. Players and coaches alike are excited to work with him and learn from him.'
Essex's Simon Harmer, Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook celebrate winning the first division
Sussex have become one of the most modern-thinking counties in regard to accommodating players wanting to specialise in the shorter formats.
Earlier this year, Luke Wright gave up first-class cricket, Tymal Mills plays only T20 due to a congenital back condition and now Bopara, Essex's T20 player of a double-winning 2019 season, will prioritise his personal 20-over diary that takes in a gig with Durban Heat in South Africa's Mzansi Super League next month.
Sportsmail understands he agreed to the switch before a stunning resurgence in form with Essex in the final weeks of the season.
Hours before confirmation of the move, the ECB's official list of players for Sunday's historic Hundred draft had Bopara recorded as unattached.