South Africa in England 2012 September 3, 2012

England's Bopara conundrum

After a self-inflicted break, Ravi Bopara's form with the bat has slumped and it is beginning to pose a dilemma for England
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When Ravi Bopara bowled Hashim Amla at Lord's, and celebrated with polite handshakes from his team-mates, he had the wide smile of a man enjoying the game. A few hours later, when he edged Ryan McLaren behind for 6, he walked off wearing the expression of someone with the weight of world on his shoulders.

It has been a tough few weeks for Bopara, stemming from the personal problems that forced him to withdraw from the second Test against South Africa at Headingley. There is no need to speculate on what those problems were, but since returning to action he has had a miserable run with the bat: 1, 3, 2, 16, 0 and 6.

Yet his bowling is as effective as ever in one-day internationals. His 2 for 34 at Lord's included the wickets of Amla (who many of England's frontline bowlers have struggled to dismiss this season) and Faf du Plessis. It followed a tight 10-over spell at The Oval, just the second time in his ODI career he had bowled his full quota and he is giving Alastair Cook a valuable option. This season he averages 23.28 with the ball in ODIs - with an economy rate of just 3.46 - and let's not forget he almost removed Amla early in his triple hundred in the Test series.

"Ravi's bowled well all summer and manages to keep picking up wickets," Cook said. "He's always had a bit of a golden arm, but I think he's managed to control his length a little bit better than in the past. He bowls wicket to wicket, and a lot less four-balls."

The problem is, however, that as one of the top five he needs to score runs. Batting orders rarely have everyone in top form, but Bopara looks so short on confidence that he is being carried by the others. Coupled with Cook attracting some good deliveries against the new ball there is a lot of onus on Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan.

Cook, though, did not sound overly concerned about his Essex team-mate: "You get a little bit frustrated, like anyone, when you're not scoring runs," he said. "But that's why it's great when you have both strings to your bow - like he does. It's not quite happening with the bat for him at the moment but he showed his class with the bat against Australia, and he's certainly making a massive contribution with the ball at the moment."

It is hard not to feel a little sympathy for Bopara, although it is not often a common senitment used in comment sections or social media. Things had all started to look so promising for him earlier in the season against Australia where he scored 182 runs in four innings to hint at a greater maturity to his game. After a match-winning 82 at The Oval he even said he thought he "was batting as well as ever".

Then came a tough Test return at The Oval where he made 0 and 22, twice falling to Dale Steyn, but he would certainly have had the Headingley Test and probably Lord's as well to try and convince the selectors he was was the man for No. 6. But his self-inflicted absence forced him to watch James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow leapfrog him in the queue to the extent that, even if Kevin Pietersen's exile continues into the India Test series, Bopara is no certainty to be there.

The other, more immediate, problem for England is that they are in danger of heading into the World Twenty20 with their No. 3 badly out of touch. Bopara is inked in for that position following a steady half-century against West Indies earlier the season in what is an inexperienced top order outside of Eoin Morgan and, to a lesser degree, Craig Kieswetter.

Yet the shortest format may just be Bopara's best route back to form. There is really no choice but to play shots (despite the maxim that 20 overs is longer than you think) and exploiting the six Powerplay overs will be a key period in Sri Lanka. Maybe the less time Bopara has to worry about building a score can free his mind to be more instinctive.

His place in the one-day side is probably secure for the final match of the series. Cook did not sound like a captain who wanted to dispense with his bowling, while there are concerns over Trott's hand injury. However, one of the major debates this season has been whether England are too wedded to picking bowlers because of their batting skills and the reverse situation is quickly coming to the fore about Bopara.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on September 5, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    TIME IT GOT THROUGH TO ALL CONCERNED BOPARA IS NOT I REPEAT NOT INTERNATIONAL CLASS FULL STOP

  • 12thUmpire on September 5, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    A guaranteed wicket of Gilly by itself justified Freddie's selection in terms of the runs saved. Creating chances against Amla is necessary but not sufficient! "Could have", "should have", "would have" don't justify England not taking good care of Bopara. They only need to look at what happened when another player felt he was not being taken good care of! If Bopara MUST BE in the eleven, then respect his batting position at №11! How many strike bowlers are thrust in the top 6 against the best attack,…and repeatedly?…Unfair! plain and simple! Imagine WI requiring Ambrose or the Aussies requiring McGrath to bat at these positions‼…They also created a few chances against a few batsmen, didn't they?…

  • on September 5, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    I cannot believe that a bowler (part time or full time) who took Amla easily + the pressure he created by drying up runs, is being berated like this. If Bopara had not bowled those polls in Lords and Oval surely SA would have thrashed you 4 - 0.

  • 12thUmpire on September 5, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Bopara just proved my point (Posted by 12thUmpire on (September 04 2012, 15:05 PM GMT)). England unfairly exposed him to a strong opposition instead of awaiting a weaker attack, and then give him an extended run, despite what his Essex mate Goochy thinks of him.

  • Rastus on September 5, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    It really is ridiculous that batsmen in the England team are allowed to fail for match after match to try and regain their form where a bowler is left out if he has a couple of average games (unless you@re called Broad).

    Bopara should be allowed to regain his form at county level and then get in line to come back into the team. England should be putting out the eleven best players in the country on that day, not using international games as some sort of training match. It is not only unfair on other batsmen who are on form but also to the fans who pay a lot of money to come and see England's best team.

  • jmcilhinney on September 5, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Rastus on (September 04 2012, 15:17 PM GMT), while bowlers do get a bit of a raw deal, it's not quite the same thing. Look at Amla this summer. If England had held their catches then he wouldn't have passed 50 and would have made some low scores. A batsman might get a good ball first up that, if he had survived, he could have gone on to make a big score, e.g. Amla dropped on 2 in the second Test. If a bowler performs badly then they have done so over several overs at the very least.

  • jmcilhinney on September 5, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @12thUmpire on (September 04 2012, 15:05 PM GMT), I have no doubt that Cook will open the batting each and every time he plays an ODI (and Test for that matter) for England. Let's not forget that it wasn't that long ago that Cook scored three hundreds. If he ever does go through a prolonged period of poor form then I would expect him to be dropped from the team before being dropped down the order. The only way I can see him not opening is in a rain-shortened match where they may want to open with a genuine big hitter instead.

  • on September 4, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Eeeer Sundar, check the photo mate....

  • phoenixsteve on September 4, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    If you listen to Graham Gooch and most of Ravi's contemporaries they know that Ravi is a special talent. He's a slow starter and someone who (so far) has not had much luck? Look at that caught behing dismissal at the Oval - sure he probably touched it - but it didn't show on replays or on hotspot. Ravi didn't think he touched it either but snicko confirmed a noise - A.D. He might of (ok he was) been OUT but that was unlucky and seems typical of his fortune to date. England can't go on with him failing though but he needs to assured of a decent run in the side. Maybe he was and this is coming to an end soon? I for one wish him success and hope for a breakthrough knock tomorrow. His bowling has been amazing and he must be counting Amla as one of his bunnies few can say (or even think) that! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Riderstorm on September 4, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I have been baffled to put it mildly over the England ODI team composition over the years. The ECB and Team management always seems to favor the approach of picking players based on stats and team requirements instead of picking some players purely on talent. It worked well over the last couple of years but, it seems like they are denying the opportunity for some worthy individuals. Bopara, who is more of a lower order batsman (quite effective). But, shouldn't bat in the top order. I'm not saying based on his performances or the lack there of in batting but based on the just the way he bats.

  • on September 5, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    TIME IT GOT THROUGH TO ALL CONCERNED BOPARA IS NOT I REPEAT NOT INTERNATIONAL CLASS FULL STOP

  • 12thUmpire on September 5, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    A guaranteed wicket of Gilly by itself justified Freddie's selection in terms of the runs saved. Creating chances against Amla is necessary but not sufficient! "Could have", "should have", "would have" don't justify England not taking good care of Bopara. They only need to look at what happened when another player felt he was not being taken good care of! If Bopara MUST BE in the eleven, then respect his batting position at №11! How many strike bowlers are thrust in the top 6 against the best attack,…and repeatedly?…Unfair! plain and simple! Imagine WI requiring Ambrose or the Aussies requiring McGrath to bat at these positions‼…They also created a few chances against a few batsmen, didn't they?…

  • on September 5, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    I cannot believe that a bowler (part time or full time) who took Amla easily + the pressure he created by drying up runs, is being berated like this. If Bopara had not bowled those polls in Lords and Oval surely SA would have thrashed you 4 - 0.

  • 12thUmpire on September 5, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Bopara just proved my point (Posted by 12thUmpire on (September 04 2012, 15:05 PM GMT)). England unfairly exposed him to a strong opposition instead of awaiting a weaker attack, and then give him an extended run, despite what his Essex mate Goochy thinks of him.

  • Rastus on September 5, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    It really is ridiculous that batsmen in the England team are allowed to fail for match after match to try and regain their form where a bowler is left out if he has a couple of average games (unless you@re called Broad).

    Bopara should be allowed to regain his form at county level and then get in line to come back into the team. England should be putting out the eleven best players in the country on that day, not using international games as some sort of training match. It is not only unfair on other batsmen who are on form but also to the fans who pay a lot of money to come and see England's best team.

  • jmcilhinney on September 5, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Rastus on (September 04 2012, 15:17 PM GMT), while bowlers do get a bit of a raw deal, it's not quite the same thing. Look at Amla this summer. If England had held their catches then he wouldn't have passed 50 and would have made some low scores. A batsman might get a good ball first up that, if he had survived, he could have gone on to make a big score, e.g. Amla dropped on 2 in the second Test. If a bowler performs badly then they have done so over several overs at the very least.

  • jmcilhinney on September 5, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @12thUmpire on (September 04 2012, 15:05 PM GMT), I have no doubt that Cook will open the batting each and every time he plays an ODI (and Test for that matter) for England. Let's not forget that it wasn't that long ago that Cook scored three hundreds. If he ever does go through a prolonged period of poor form then I would expect him to be dropped from the team before being dropped down the order. The only way I can see him not opening is in a rain-shortened match where they may want to open with a genuine big hitter instead.

  • on September 4, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Eeeer Sundar, check the photo mate....

  • phoenixsteve on September 4, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    If you listen to Graham Gooch and most of Ravi's contemporaries they know that Ravi is a special talent. He's a slow starter and someone who (so far) has not had much luck? Look at that caught behing dismissal at the Oval - sure he probably touched it - but it didn't show on replays or on hotspot. Ravi didn't think he touched it either but snicko confirmed a noise - A.D. He might of (ok he was) been OUT but that was unlucky and seems typical of his fortune to date. England can't go on with him failing though but he needs to assured of a decent run in the side. Maybe he was and this is coming to an end soon? I for one wish him success and hope for a breakthrough knock tomorrow. His bowling has been amazing and he must be counting Amla as one of his bunnies few can say (or even think) that! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Riderstorm on September 4, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I have been baffled to put it mildly over the England ODI team composition over the years. The ECB and Team management always seems to favor the approach of picking players based on stats and team requirements instead of picking some players purely on talent. It worked well over the last couple of years but, it seems like they are denying the opportunity for some worthy individuals. Bopara, who is more of a lower order batsman (quite effective). But, shouldn't bat in the top order. I'm not saying based on his performances or the lack there of in batting but based on the just the way he bats.

  • Rastus on September 4, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    It really is ridiculous that batsmen in the England team are allowed to fail for match after match to try and regain their form where a bowler is left out if he has a couple of average games (unless you@re called Broad).

    Bopara should be allowed to regain his form at county level and then get in line to come back into the team. England should be putting out the eleven best players in the country on that day, not using international games as some sort of training match. It is not only unfair on other batsmen who are on form but also to the fans who pay a lot of money to come and see England's best team.

  • 12thUmpire on September 4, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    Cookie may need to drop down the order, if he consistently makes low scores. As a fourth seamer, Bopara may also score a few runs, at number 11, you never know when! He certainly has a role to play in limited-over-games, including the IPL, and test matches against weak oppositions.

  • o-bomb on September 4, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @sundar270890 - the photo attached to this article appears to disprove your suggestion.

  • on September 4, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    What about Owais Shah? Is he not a good bat?

  • maddy20 on September 4, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    @FreddyForPrimeMinister India have spinners, yes... but none of them are any good. I am surprised you have the guts to say that even after being thumped 5-0 in the ODIs. I am intrigued by your innocence but it will not save you from a sound thrashing this winter.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on September 4, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Australia would give their eye-teeh fr a player like Bopara. There again, being the effective 6th or 7th ranked team in all formats of the game, they'd give their eye-teeth for anything other than their average-skilled and average-ranked team.

  • sundar270890 on September 4, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Ravi Bopara shook his hands after claiming faf du plesis's wicket and not Hashim Amla !!!

  • tajjuk on September 4, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    LOL @ RandyOz, England no depth? we have talented players young like Bairstow, Taylor and Buttler who can;t get in the team and one of the best international batsmen in the world has texted himself out of the team and we are still ranked number 1. What do Oz have? journeyman pros like George Bailey and Peter Forrest and an over reliance on 37 year old Mike Hussey, jog on.

  • Jimmers on September 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    @RandyOz - England have got plenty of depth, they're just so preoccupied with making sure everyone has a group hug after the game, they leave out quality players in favor of robots who fit their silly requirements of being good with the media etc.

  • bouncedout on September 4, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    @RandyOz. hat's rich from someone who supports having a certain M. Johnson in their team....

    Bopara is not one of the stronger English players but he's still better than Johnson with both ball and bat......

    Keep dreaming sunshine lol

  • FreddyForPrimeMinister on September 4, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    @Munkeymomo on (September 04 2012, 09:32 AM GMT) - India have spinners, yes... but none of them are any good!! It won't surprise me to see them wheel out Sachin for a few of his legendary leggies... haha

  • FreddyForPrimeMinister on September 4, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    @Phil Wood on (September 03 2012, 17:46 PM GMT) - I agree totally. I simply don't understand what Woakes has to do to get a chance. I've never been a fan of Bopara (he loves himself too much) but his bowling has been the equal of any of the front line bowlers in this series - most of the time he's just not given the chance to bowl more than 3 or 4 overs, even when he's been the most economical bowler in that match. I'd drop one of Dernbach, Finn or Anderson (probably Dernbach) and bring in Woakes. The other two bowlers can open, Woakes first change, Tredwell as main spinner and Bopara/Patel as 5th/6th bowler. Woakes would be a stunning no.8 batsmen and should make up for any runs lost by Bopara's current loss of form.

  • on September 4, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    We can't justify having Bopara in their when he isn't scoring runs as a batsman, any other batsman would be dropped for it but England don't seem to want to! With Trott doubtful as well we should be having a in-form batsman called up such as Luke Wright, 2 x 100's in 2 games!

  • bobmartin on September 4, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    Funny .. all this talk about dropping Bopara on the strength of a couple of batting failures which a) forgets what he did v the Aussies and b) ignores that he has a more than useful second string to his bow in his bowling. No talk about dropping Capt Cook who's last 10 innings have yielded 289 runs, which includes 1 century v WI and 1 score of 56... so his other 8 innings have resulted in only 119 runs.. In 4 knocks v SA he averages 10.66. Just a thought

  • RandyOZ on September 4, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    How someone as weak as Bopara is anywhere near a national side is beyond me. Oh that's right I forgot England have no depth.

  • RednWhiteArmy on September 4, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    Not sure about RB...maybe he should play in odi's, definately not in tests

  • Munkeymomo on September 4, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    @Raj: India have spinners right? Yeah doubt any England batsmen will be playing themselves into form against them! :p

  • robheinen on September 4, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    @ThirteenthMan ~ Then maybe it's time to select Donald Bradman in the team. He has the most outstanding long term record!

  • ThirteenthMan on September 4, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    It would be silly to worry about his loss of form batting...he can be judged on his long term record.

  • jmcilhinney on September 4, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    There are suggestions that some commenters have short memories and are forgetting Bopara's good performances not that long ago. I would suggest that such commenters actually have longer memories and recall all the times before that Bopara performed poorly. The problem is that he keeps on playing a good innings or two and everyone gets excited thinking that he's finally going to fulfil the potential that we've all seen in him and then he just disappoints again. He's played 82 ODIs now and he's probably never had an extended run of good form with the bat. It's his bowling that's keeping him in the team and his batting is not good enough to play at #4, which may even be #3 if Trott doesn't play next game.

  • satish619chandar on September 4, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Bopara excellent as a bowler in this series but equally circumspect while batting . Given Patel's batting form, why not Patel at 4 and Bopara at 7? Dropping Bopara will make England lose a very good bowling option in middle overs.

  • on September 4, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    Benn Kempster: Bopara's best option is to somehow get selected for the India tour. Once here, he can feast on the pathetic bowling attack and play himself to have a permanent position in the England team. If he can get in to the Indian tour, his future will be secure for some time.

  • Jeyan_Sinthu on September 4, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    It's no doubt Ravi is a worthy all round cricketer. Just he didn't perform well in the last 3 innings. But, he was a crucial factor in the series win against Aussies. At the moment he needs the full support from his team. Surely he will prove with his bat very soon...!!!

  • boston_pride on September 4, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    The problem with Eng is Bell, trott, cook, baistow or Morgan dont bowl at all... Bell used to be a handy fill in guy but for some reason doesnt bowl these days... While they trust Trott in tests, in ODIs he rarely bowls... N there is no KP either... N wright despite scoring those 100s in Domestic ODI isnt being considered for anything other T20... This is where Collingwood was goldust... The only option is tog et Bairstow to keep wickets instead of Kieswetter n play 5 bowlers... 3 seamers (anderson, broad, finn) and 2 spinners (tredwell, swann)... Tredwell, Swann, Broad can all bat decently enough

  • JG2704 on September 4, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    As a batsman Ravi is not worth his place in the side. But while he's doing a good job with the ball then I'd say to keep him in. I would though say that England should be more flexible with the batting order. If they are chasing a bigger total I'd say to shift him down the order below Morgan and Craig and if Patel is playing below him too. I do think having a 6th bowling option is a good thing. Also wondering about finding a place for Jonny. As I said I think he should replace Trott but failing that (and as a Somerset fan it pains me to say this) but maybe ahead of Craig who is more a natural opener in the ODI format.

  • on September 4, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Bopara's only option is to drop down the order to 6, 7 or 8. England certainly can't afford to be without his tight lines, but the days of Bopara embarassing himself with a lack of gumption against quality bowlers have to come to an end sharpish. Time to get either Bairstow, Taylor or Hayles in to that ODI side and start planning ahead.

  • on September 4, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    What conundrum? The guy played brilliantly in the last ODI series v Australia and has failed with the bat 3 times in this series. Batsman fail sometimes, it doesn't mean their place should be under scrutiny. I find it hard to believe Andy Flower is considering any change to his top 6 for now, unless Trott is injured....surely Bopara's place isn't just "probably secure" - it's an absolute certainty? This continuity of selection doesn't give writers much to speculate about does it!

  • on September 4, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    People that are commenting on Derbach's economy rate should remember that he bowls at the most difficult times; during power-plays and at the death. Re: the England team i would also move Bopara down to about 6,and bring in Bairstow as a like for like replacement with Keiswetter. The other option is to drop them both (Ravi and Craig) and Bring in Bairstow to keep, PLUS another specialist bowler that bowls wicket to wicket but a lot better, like Onions. Either way it's crazy to have the destructive talent of Bairstow sat twiddling his thumbs, when Bopara has failed so often for England with his primary ability, batting (apparently!),and Kieswetter is too predictable. He also scores at far less a rate than we were led to believe he would when first selected. Having said that he scores quicker than most,and I think the no. of plodders in England's top 5 is a concern-especially going to India where they may well need 300+ to win games.

  • on September 4, 2012, 2:29 GMT

    i think ravibopara and rohitsharma are facing tough time .They are out of form ,need to rest them so that they can practice well in local matches and able to achieve good form

  • landl47 on September 4, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    I like Iain Johnson's idea, except that I'd bat Ravi at 7, after Patel. Given that the reason England has beaten South Africa in the last 2 ODIs is because SA hasn't made enough runs, and given that Bopara has been the most economical bowler over the two games (not to mention the 3 wickets he has taken, all key batsmen), I don't see how he can be dropped. However, having him come in at 4 when he has no confidence hasn't worked in the 3 games he's played so far, so move him down the order. There's less pressure to be a major run-scorer there, so he might have a chance to find a bit of form. If the batting's still a bit thin, substitute Woakes for Dernbach- although this XI has done a pretty good job so far.

  • Patchmaster on September 4, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    I don't think Dernbach is a long term option for ENG, he's just too expensive. If Bopara could bat and if he could be a 'game finisher', which he can't..he'd be an instant selection. But he can't be picked based upon his bowling. It's also worth noting he's a really average fielder. I'd rather see Bairstow in the side to balance up the Cook and Trott slow scoring rate.

  • terrifyingwarriors on September 4, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    With more than 150 wickets at an average of less than 26 and 38 average with bat he should be first choice allrounder. I hope he does well with the bat in the last game of series. Even though I am great fan of SA team, I still hope he does well for the sake of England cricket.

  • maddy20 on September 3, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    Atleast he is bowling well, way better than the consistently non-performing Dernbach, who has not conceded less than 5 RPO in recent memory. Bopara on the other hand has been doing pretty well with the ball and that alone would be enough to have him in the side as a bowler.

  • 158notout on September 3, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    maximum - if Trott cannot play then surely the last thing we want to do is unsettle the entire batting order? Where is the logic in promoting Kieswetter up to open and playing Cook at 3? That means three places get altered for one personnel change.

  • Cpt.Meanster on September 3, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    I think Bopara should be dropped. He was originally selected in the team to play as a specialist batsman who can bowl 'a bit'. If he has reversed his role in the team by becoming a dibbly-dobbler, then too bad. England need his runs, not wickets; though wickets would definitely be a bonus. I think Chris Woakes should get a game. I personally want Jonny Bairstow in, my favourite young batsman. But given Cook's mentality, I am sure Ravi will get one last game. This new trend of 'standing by' a certain player in times of strife is frustrating me. MS Dhoni does it all the time. I mean there is a limit to everything. Bopara has been given enough opportunities, he's jinxed it. Time for someone else.

  • Guernica on September 3, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Blimey, short memories some people. Wasn't he one of the most consistent batsmen in the one day series against Australia, just this summer? And indeed in the home ODI series against India last year? Personally I loved watching his bowling and his handshake celebrations in that last game. Don't know why so many have a problem with him. In ODIs you really have to have at least one of your top 6 who can bowl and I'm not counting Trott - I don't see many other candidates who could replace him.

  • 2.14istherunrate on September 3, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    Obviously two problems for the side to work out. Is Bopara's bowling enough to keep him there, and is Trott's injury too serious to play him. If trott does not play suggest moving K'wetter to open with Bell, move Cook to 3-not Bell as he is really settled now, then put morgan 4, bairstow, Patel, then Bopara.Bopara is bowling well here so should remain in side. Bowlers otherwise doing okaty but really Anderson needs to start performing better. Win needed,as we have had enough losses in tests to last a while.

  • RakeshJainB on September 3, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Why mess with a winning combination when Ravi has lot to offer with his golden arm. Removing Amla is 50 percent match won for England. Can he deliver the magical stuff again (or) can he bowl well to survive in End 11 .

  • on September 3, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    i like Iain Johnson's idea..i think he is going through a bad patch in batting but has been very effective with ball. Wishing him the very best in the last one dayer...

  • on September 3, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Doing well as a bowler, so I agree with Iain Johnson, bat him after Morgan and Kieswetter and see if he adds valuable runs there

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Bopara is a bowler now primarily so either he needs to be dropped or one of the bowlers (possibly Samit) must be dropped to be replaced by a batsman that is in form (Bairstow maybe)

  • kkk999 on September 3, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    BOPARA SHOULD BE SHIFTED TO THE OPENERS SLOT SO THAT HE CAN COUNTERATTACT THE BOWLING AND GV ENGLAND A GOOD START....

  • Exfactor44 on September 3, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    "It is hard not to feel a little sympathy for Bopara"

    Really? I don't feel any sympathy at all. He has had more chances than any english player of the last 5 years to demonstrate he has ability and yet he still only manages to turn up on 1 out of 10 occassions. Whereas Bairstow came back from his first foray into Tests twice as strong Bopara has really only made incremental progress since his debut which in the grand scheme of things, isn't going to make it.

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    If Trott doesn't make it they don't have a clear replacement for Bopara in the squad. Perhaps the answer is to bolster the batting by giving Woakes a go in place of Dernbach or Finn.

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    try Matt prior instead, england still get to have a 5 bowler attack

  • barrick on September 3, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Too often after World Cups, England talk about building for the next one. Too often in between, we become focussed only on the next series. We'll all have a list of Australian cricketers who performed admirably for a handful or more games before being dropped in favour of a player who offered more.

    England cannot be sentimental regarding Bopara. If he's regarded as a probable for 2015 (as a batsman), then I'd be very surprised, but he'd have to continue in those circumstances. If not, then he must be replaced by someone who is - Bairstow or Taylor currently, one supposes. A part time bowler would be lost (can Bell no longer bowl these days?), and herein lies the tactical question England need to answer.

    Can the development of Bairstow, Taylor or whoever it would be, in ODI cricket be put on hold due to the desire to have six to eight overs of dibbly dobblers? We might end up playing at Perth in the World Cup!

  • Narkovian on September 3, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    Bopara has been tried too many times and found wanting. 4 years now at least. Why the obsession with bringing him back ? ODIs.. well not really concerned, as no-one will really care/remember the result in 3 weeks time anyway. But it at least can be considered a proving ground to some extent for future Test players. Yeh OK so he can bowl a bit. But that just proves to me that ODIs are just mediocre cricket. If medicocre players can have impact, then something is wrong. What did Luke Wright do wrong. Much better ODI bat, and bowls too. Bairstow being on the sidelines is a joke

  • mikey76 on September 3, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    If he keeps producing with the ball then leave him be. The runs will start flowing soon enough. If his bowling drops off then there is good cause to leave him out. Would rather see Woakes in the side instead of Patel, especially in England, and would like to see Onions rewarded for his FC excellence this year in place of Jimmy who could use a rest.

  • tommytucker on September 3, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    who cares. average at best.

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    if england need to build their odi team more stronger dey need to give chances to players like bopara,bairstow,samit,morgan..dey r very talanted,just need few chances...

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Easily solved - play him as an all-rounder and bat him at 6 under Morgan and Kieswetter

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    replace him with Woakes.better for himself

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  • on September 3, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    replace him with Woakes.better for himself

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Easily solved - play him as an all-rounder and bat him at 6 under Morgan and Kieswetter

  • on September 3, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    if england need to build their odi team more stronger dey need to give chances to players like bopara,bairstow,samit,morgan..dey r very talanted,just need few chances...

  • tommytucker on September 3, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    who cares. average at best.

  • mikey76 on September 3, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    If he keeps producing with the ball then leave him be. The runs will start flowing soon enough. If his bowling drops off then there is good cause to leave him out. Would rather see Woakes in the side instead of Patel, especially in England, and would like to see Onions rewarded for his FC excellence this year in place of Jimmy who could use a rest.

  • Narkovian on September 3, 2012, 17:35 GMT

    Bopara has been tried too many times and found wanting. 4 years now at least. Why the obsession with bringing him back ? ODIs.. well not really concerned, as no-one will really care/remember the result in 3 weeks time anyway. But it at least can be considered a proving ground to some extent for future Test players. Yeh OK so he can bowl a bit. But that just proves to me that ODIs are just mediocre cricket. If medicocre players can have impact, then something is wrong. What did Luke Wright do wrong. Much better ODI bat, and bowls too. Bairstow being on the sidelines is a joke

  • barrick on September 3, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Too often after World Cups, England talk about building for the next one. Too often in between, we become focussed only on the next series. We'll all have a list of Australian cricketers who performed admirably for a handful or more games before being dropped in favour of a player who offered more.

    England cannot be sentimental regarding Bopara. If he's regarded as a probable for 2015 (as a batsman), then I'd be very surprised, but he'd have to continue in those circumstances. If not, then he must be replaced by someone who is - Bairstow or Taylor currently, one supposes. A part time bowler would be lost (can Bell no longer bowl these days?), and herein lies the tactical question England need to answer.

    Can the development of Bairstow, Taylor or whoever it would be, in ODI cricket be put on hold due to the desire to have six to eight overs of dibbly dobblers? We might end up playing at Perth in the World Cup!

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    try Matt prior instead, england still get to have a 5 bowler attack

  • on September 3, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    If Trott doesn't make it they don't have a clear replacement for Bopara in the squad. Perhaps the answer is to bolster the batting by giving Woakes a go in place of Dernbach or Finn.

  • Exfactor44 on September 3, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    "It is hard not to feel a little sympathy for Bopara"

    Really? I don't feel any sympathy at all. He has had more chances than any english player of the last 5 years to demonstrate he has ability and yet he still only manages to turn up on 1 out of 10 occassions. Whereas Bairstow came back from his first foray into Tests twice as strong Bopara has really only made incremental progress since his debut which in the grand scheme of things, isn't going to make it.