CHRIS Silverwood says Essex need Ravi Bopara ‘firing on all cylinders’ if they are to enjoy a successful season in 2017.

Bopara made the decision to step down from his position as limited-overs captain last November, with Ryan ten Doeschate taking over the role alongside his duties as County Championship skipper.

And Silverwood has thrown his weight behind the decision, if it means getting the best out of the former England all-rounder.

“I back the decision,” said the head coach. “Ravi made it on what he wants to achieve going forward.

“We know that he can return to the form he is capable of and I support the decisions he makes.

“We need Ravi firing on all cylinders and back to his best.

“He is a player who is capable of winning us games, and he will remain an influential figure in the dressing room.

“He will be backing Ryan and (vice-captain) Tom (Westley) and it was the decision for the team.”

A club statement previously said Bopara would “enhance various aspects of his batting and bowling” ahead of the new season.

Bopara took 66 wickets last season, including 45 in the County Championship, with best figures of 5-49.

He took 21 wickets in 24 List A and T20 matches.