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May 28, 2012
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.
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