England news May 28, 2012

Bopara begins comeback

Ravi Bopara, the Essex and England batsman, will begin his comeback from the thigh injury that ruled him out of the first two Tests against West Indies in Rotterdam when he faces Netherlands in a CB40 tie on Tuesday.

Bopara has only one other one-day match for Essex, against Gloucestershire at Chelmsford next Monday, ahead of the final Test against West Indies, which begins at Edgbaston on June 7, so making it difficult for him to press his claims for a return to the Test side.

Bopara injured his thigh while bowling a few days before the first Test, paving the way for Jonny Bairstow to make his Test debut at Lord's and subsequently win a second cap in an uncomfortable performance against the West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach.

With England's county schedule turning primarily to one-day cricket in the weeks ahead, Bopara's realistic target is to prove his fitness in time to return to England's squad for three ODIs and a T20 against West Indies next month.

Bopara has suffered two untimely injuries which have prevented him adding to 12 Test caps. He was in line for a recall against Sri Lanka earlier this year after Eoin Morgan was dropped but picked up a side strain which prevented him from bowling and Samit Patel was preferred with England keen for a fifth-bowling option in hot conditions.

Bopara replaced Patel at the start of the English summer but ill luck struck again when he suffered a grade one tear after bowling only one over against Kent at Chelmsford and his attempts to bat with a runner later in the match merely emphasised that he would not recover fitness in time.

Essex will be grateful for Bopara's return. Their last trip to the Netherlands was no pushover as they sneaked victory by a single run. They are still seeking their first win in this year's competition while Netherlands' three matches to date have brought them wins against Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bob on May 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Gotta love the English language...I read the first sentence of the article and wondered why I was being told the first two England/West Indies tests took place in Rotterdam!

  • Jon on May 28, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    @Trickstar- I do agree that it is too early to write off Bairstow, but for the SA series I think we need someone who has more experience against express pace. Personally I would play Finn and move Prior up to 6. I still think we have enough depth in the batting to post competitive scores with only 5 specialist batsment and Prior, and our bowling attack would be lethal. In all honesty though I can't see them going down that road, so feel that Bopara should be given another go. I think Bairstow should be allowed to develop for a couple more years before he is exposed to test class bowling again. I do think you are correct though that we can not write him off yet.

  • paul on May 28, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    @bobmartin This is the problem with some England fans, Bairstow has had 3 innings to his name one of which he faced 4 ball and was not out and you're righting him off, pretty poor stuff tbh but typical of a lot of England fans. How about we wait at the very least till the end of this series to see how he's done. Facts are he smashed around 1st Div bowlers last year and smashed second div bowlers even more this year playing for Yorkshire, he looks a cut above the other players around him at that level even at his age, so we should stick with him and give him time to adapt, get better and not go back to a failure like Bopara.

  • Mark on May 28, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    @bobmartin: Me neither, Rav doesn't have the temperament for me, can't handle the pressure. Shame, I'd like him as a 6th bat/5th bowler for his bowling, but he isn't good enough with the blade. Stokes seems to be the best fit for that position, but he obviously needs more time to learn his game first.

  • Bob on May 28, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Not sure whether Bopara is the man.. but England definitely need a batsman to fill the slot between Bell and Prior. So far the Morgan/Patel/Bairstow experiments seem to have failed the test and with Sth Africa to come, the need is even more pressing.

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