Not quite the start that Ravi would have hoped for in his quest to get the 6th batting spot in the England test side.
Scores of 0 and 39 isn’t a great start, and he was also upstaged by Kent youngster Sam Northeast (112) who scored a century in the match when conditions weren’t great for batting.
Ravi did put a block on Northeast’s attempt to upstage him by claiming the youngsters wicket in the 2nd innings. Figures of 2/50 from 18 overs in Kent’s 2nd innings was probably Bopara’s greater match input.
Bopara’s bowling could be very important when it comes to selecting the 6th batsman. With England only playing a 4 man attack, a batsman who is reliable enough to bowl 8-10 overs a day would be invaluable and probably high on the selectors tick list.
And you never know, if Collingwood’s standards are anything to go by, you wouldn’t need to score bucket loads of runs either.
You could scratch around at the crease, score 16 or so runs in about an hour, then get yourself out with a ridiculous shot or a lack of technique and keep your place for years as long as you can bowl a few overs when the seamers need a rest. There is hope for Ravi yet.
Another thing going for Ravi is that Eoin Morgan hasn’t done much in the IPL yet, in his latest (2nd) game he didn’t even get a bat. He only managed 6 runs in his 1st match, so there is still all to play for.
I’m biased but I think they should go for James Hildreth. Last year’s stats, the fact that he’s a class batsman, and a good Lions tour as captain should put him right in the mix but I’ll be very surprised if they don’t go to Morgan first.
Bopara is helped by the fact that Gooch is part of the England set-up. I think it was Derek Pringle who said on TMS during the World Cup that Gooch thought he was the most talented batsman he’s ever worked with as a coach. This’ll mean he’ll get loads of chances while the likes of Hildreth (a better player in my view) will have to wait for ever, and Owais Shah (who had many of the same faults as Bopara) was never given anything like as many opportunities, at least at Test level.
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He is one I certainly hope the selectors have in mind, along with Sam Northeast, James Taylor etc, Although I think Taylor and Northeast should probably stay in county cricket and learn their trade a bit more before stepping up.
I see where you are coming from with your analysis of the Bopara situation, he seems to be one of those guys who the selectors seem hell bent on getting into the England side.
It does make me wonder why he rejected the IPL to stay in England, it might be a cynical view, but I get the feeling that he knows something.
It is surprising though, I wouldn’t even say he has nailed down a spot in the one day team yet.
But if your theory is right, it could mean he gets the same shed load of chances that Cook and Bell have had. They might have come good at last, but it took a bit too long in my view and is probably part of the reason that England have struggled a bit over the past 3-4 years, pre the South Africa tour 15-16 months ago.
Morgan seems the to be the man in waiting, but something is telling me there is a good reason why Ravi didn’t go to the IPL.