One more chance for Ravi?

So it’s Ravi Bopara who gets the nod to replace the injured Jonathan Trott in the England squad for the 3rd test starting at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Although he’s only 26 himself, I believe the chances are that this could be one of Ravi’s last chances to prove to the selectors that he can deliver at this level. Leicestershire’s James Taylor would appear to be breathing down his neck and at 21 the selectors might decide to invest in youth if Bopara fails to convince again.
There’s clearly no issue with Trott’s place in the side and he will walk back into the team as soon as he if fit. Bopara could score a double century in both innings and it still wouldn’t be enough to keep Trott out of the team.
Bopara’s only chance in the long run would be to replace Eoin Morgan in the No.6 slot. Morgan has played some good innings at times but hasn’t really nailed down his place in the side yet.
I do believe that the selectors aren’t totally convinced by the test credentials of either men, neither of them have really totally looked the part at test level too me so far. Morgan seems to be the mentally tougher of the two and that seems to have swung it in his favour so far.
Morgan will probably retain his place for a while longer as well, the team are currently winning and that buys the selectors time to give him a proper run in the side to access whether he has all the tools required to make it at test level, or become another Neil Fairbrother.
Chances are that no matter what Ravi does at Edgbaston he will be the one to make way when Trott returns. So all he can really do here is put down a marker that proves to the selectors that he is the next cab off the rank (as Geoff Miller regularly puts it) for the back up spot in future touring parties, or if an injury occurs. No pressure really!
Be interesting to see if Ravi is able to handle it, his England test match future could depend on it.

Selectors stick with Eoin Morgan after all

I am pleased too see that Eoin Morgan got named in the England test squad at the expense of Ravi Bopara today. I was certain that Bopara had it for his bowling, but I had obviously and wrongly got caught up with the media opinion on this.

I said all along that if it was purely down to batting, that I’d go for Morgan. It is also a selection based on consistency, something that this team’s success has been based around.

Another thing this team is built on is ‘strength of character,’ a fact not lost on Geoff Miller. On explaining the decision to go with Morgan, Miller said, “Ravi has been getting a lot of runs for Essex, but the controlled innings that Eoin played just gave him the nod. That innings really just showed us what he is capable of doing. It shows his strength of character.”

The last three words of that sentence are telling, ‘strength of character.’ Something that the selectors clearly look for these days, something which they – and I also – believe Morgan has a lot of, compared to Ravi, who I don’t believe has displayed too much of, over the years.

Ravi has had a reasonable start too the season, two centuries isn’t a bad return, but he hasn’t produced the type of form that has demanded the selectors pick him. Whereas Morgan comes back from IPL, plays one innings, and it’s an innings that has almost demanded his selection.

I’m glad to see the selectors retain Chris Tremlett, assuming the reports are right and Steven Finn is in as cover, then Tremlett will obvioulsy play. It would have been interesting to see what the selectors would have done had Tim Bresnan not got injured. Stuart Broad was always going to come back, so would it have been Tremlett or Bresnan who would have made way?

Ravi Bopara V Eoin Morgan

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.

Not the ideal start for Ravi

It was a mixed day for England hopefuls on the first full day of the County Championship season, with Ravi Bopara coming a distant second best to Sam Northeast at Chelmsford.

I was impressed to hear that Bopara had turned down a £100,000 IPL contract to concentrate on playing for Essex in an attempt to get his England test place back.

Eoin Morgan has gone to the IPL, it is widely expected that Morgan is next in line for a test spot with Paul Collingwood’s place becoming available.

So why has Ravi decided to stay at Essex instead of going to India? Especially if Morgan is going to get the vacant test spot.

Well, maybe Ravi has had a wink and a nudge, possibly from Graham Gooch? Either it is a very brave call, or he knows something that we don’t.

It could be that someone has told Ravi that the test place is far from secured for Morgan.

Anyway, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Ravi today with him getting a 16 ball duck.

This came after Kent youngster Sam Northeast had scored a century. It wasn’t just the 112 runs Northeast scored that was impressive, it was the fact that he scored them on a pitch that seen 16 wickets fall on the day.

It was also a massive 88 runs more than any other player managed on the day, with no other player making it past 24 and just the 2 batsmen passing 20.

If anyone from England had come to see Ravi play, they would have left Chelmsford with another name to throw into the hat.

The only good thing to happen for Ravi today, was the fact that Morgan could only manage 6 runs in the opening IPL match.

Morgan was unable to get his Kolkata Knight Riders across the line as they lost to Chennai Super Kings. They needed 42 runs from 28 balls when Morgan came into bat, far from an impossible task by his high standards.

England Watch Scoreboard – Ravi 0, Morgan 0.

Have England Misdiagnosed Morgan’s Injury?

There has been conflicting reports over the extent of Eoin Morgan’s finger injury over the last couple of days. The batsman himself announced on his Twitter account that his finger has “pretty much healed” and that there is “no need for an op on my finger.”

An ECB spokesman half contradicted that by saying that “it is likely he will not need surgery,” kind of half backtracking.

The ECB medical staff have plenty of previous in ballsing up injury diagnosis, just think back to Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff over the past 5 years.

It’s not certain that Morgan could have been a world cup option if the injury had been diagnosed properly in the first place, but if he could have made the squad, it could be that this is yet another pretty spectacular own goal by the ECB medical staff.