It’s no major surprise to see both Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan named in the Lions squad for next weeks game against Sri Lanka. If the press are to be believed it is a straight shoot out between the two for the 6th batting slot in England’s test side.
The more I think about this though, the more convinced I am that Ravi Bopara is already in the side.
I knew Ravi had done a lot of bowling this season for Essex, but having checked the stats today I was surprised to see just how much he has bowled.
So far this season (including the current match, his 6th) he has already bowled 132 overs, compared to last season when he bowled just 25 overs in 8 first class matches.
Is this more than just a coincidence?
England are going to play 6 batsmen, so they will want a batsman who can bowl 8-10 overs a day if needed. Ravi looks to be fitting that bill.
Add to that the fact that he turned down the IPL, which at the time I suspected was because he had been given a friendly tip off from someone with a foot in the Essex and England camp and it is all starting to add up.
If it is a straight shoot out between the two batsmen then I’d go for Morgan. But I don’t believe it is, as England will want a batsman who can bowl the overs. If this is the case, then I would have to reluctantly agree with Ravi’s selection.
Surely the selectors will have learnt from 2009 and this time he will bat down the order at 6, rather than 3, which was way too high for him.
I also believe that if the selectors pick him, they should stick with him. Players who think they are on trial will probably fail more often than not.
Ravi doesn’t strike me as the toughest mentally, so he would probably benefit from the reassurance of knowing he will get a good run in the team. The fact that he would be in the side to bowl as well might help by taking some of the pressure off him with his batting.