England Lions v Australia A, Old Trafford, 1st day

Bopara 'not ready' for return

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 7, 2012

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Ravi Bopara will return to cricket with England Lions, Old Trafford, August 6, 2012
Ravi Bopara trained with England Lions on Monday © Getty Images

Ravi Bopara has stood down from the opening England Lions match against Australia A at Old Trafford after feeling he was not ready to return to cricket following the personal issues that led to his withdrawal from the second Test against South Africa.

Bopara was drafted into the Lions squad on Sunday as a replacement for James Taylor who made his Test debut at Headingley in place of Bopara. However, he was not in the eleven named for the four-day encounter and issued a brief statement.

"I thought I was ready to return to action but after some consideration I just feel it's too early so won't be playing quite yet," he said.

In Bopara's absence Taylor made a determined 34 in Leeds, forming a partnership of 147 with Kevin Pietersen which brought England back into the match. Bopara had made 0 and 22 at The Oval in what was his first Test for nearly a year.

Eoin Morgan will captain the Lions and they included three spinners for the opening match with Simon Kerrigan, James Tredwell and Samit Patel all playing. Matt Coles, the Kent bowler, was the other player left out from the 13-man squad.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (August 10, 2012, 22:40 GMT)

@Peter Bryant - the talk of foreign legion is partly due to England's success, it is also partly due to the quantum of players that can be defined as overseas born. The odd one or two a decade is no big drama, but at times having 5 in the top 7, or 1 in 3 debutants over a 4 or 5 yr period is a noteworthy development. Regardless of weather there is plausible defences of any or all of the instances, (there are), it is still an easy target! @Ben Bradley/stickboy - gene mapping knows no national boundaries, rather ethnicity - which can exist anywhere. Not really relevant, what is relevant is what is plausibly where skills & culture were learnt. Even that is not entirely relevant to the "legion" debate as the comments are mainly about the quantity of players who were not born in England. The case of Ozzys for the Dutch, apart from some strong cultural ties, it's about opportunity in cricket. Ozzys can't play in County cricket in the same numbers as they use to, so it's a great opportunity.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 22:54 GMT)

Not sure about the loyalty argument, Stickboy. Loyal to where you were born or loyalty to the country where you will die? "Paying back" (for one's childhood) or "paying forward" to the country where your kids will grow up? I am a migrant and these are real questions. The thing is (as a spectator) is the player, wherever they were born, dedicated to giving a 110% to the team? I agree with Peter, a lot of this has to do with the unprecedented idea that England might have quite a good cricket team. (Only one with star-quality, and that's KP -- as Warne, the best cricket brain around, said early in 2005). The idea that they are not an easybeat laughing-stock riles a certain kind of fan who (a) likes to fidn excuses for their own country and (b) is not keen on having too many strong teams in world cricket (bar their own) and also, perhaps (c) (that post-colonial thing again), especially not a successful team 'the home' county of cricket.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

I suspect,all the talk about Englands,foreign legion,stems from the fact,that in recent times England have been succesfull.For some reason, a winning English team,doesnt sit well,with some people,particularly if i may say so,Indians.When the likes of Devon Malcolm,Chris Lewis,Neil Williams,Roland Butcher,Alan Lamb,the Greig brothers,to name but a few,were picked for England,and we were crap,this issue didnt seem to be a problem,so draw your own conclusions,why it seems to irk people now.I believe,Wagner,van Wyk are South African,and Brownlie is Australian,but they represent New Zealand,who at the minute,cant win an arguement(apart of course from drawing a Series in Australia,lol).I havent heard any objections,to New Zealand picking such players.

Posted by Dashgar on (August 8, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

But all the south Africans aren't the real problem. The problem is England depriving countries like Ireland and Zimbabwe of players. Have you heard of Gary Ballance? He plays for Yorkshire but also Mid West Rhinos in Zimbabwe. He also played for the Zimbabwe under 19s. Rules state that he can play county as a local player as long as he doesn't play internationals. In other words he can choose between a career in England or representing his country. With Zimbabwe like it is he's had to go with the money. No doubt England have the rules like this to make it easier to poach players. England's ways are hurting the nations that are most vulnerable and should be stopped for the good of the game.

Posted by Dashgar on (August 8, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

@threeslipsandagully, this is international cricket, not the English premier league. Players are supposed to represent their home country, just cos they've won a club contract with a county shouldn't change that. How would you feel if every IPL player started lining up for India? Morgan should be at Ireland, he's no more English than he is West Indian. Ireland are really close to gaining test status but they won't get there if they have all their players stolen. And maybe Wales should actually have a national team by now. Or at least change England's name to England and Wales if that's truly the area the team is chosen from. Some guys like Strauss who come to the country in nappys is fine but this habit of claiming every foreign teenager has to stop.

Posted by stickboy on (August 8, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

Yep Ben, it would be interesting to find out why particular players do move. Im guessing though it has a bit to do with money and probably living conditions, and the fact that they might think its easier play international cricket that way. Quite a few SA players have also moved to other countries for that opportunity too. I suppose thats fair enough on a personal level, but still, that's not very loyal. Players from other countries still play for different nations (such as Australians in the Dutch team), but it's just very concentrated in the England team. Does playing cricket in a country really merrit you being a member of that nationality? Such as Boyd Rankin...not that it seems he will be a great test player for England, i would say.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

So going by Sunjam Suri's,highly original England bashing,what team is actually any good.England,drew in South Africa,on the last visit,SA drew at home with India,who subsequantly,were,thrashed in England,and Australia.England hammered the Aussies in OZ,who then drew in South Africa.England got thrashed with Pakistan,then drew in Sri Lanka,where recently Pakistan lost a series.So next time,you decide,to add comments,do a little research first,theres a good chap.

Posted by stickboy on (August 8, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

If some up and coming young English players like any of the English Lions players decided to play for Ireland or another country - say hypothetically again if they all had Irish ancestry or some sort of family connection - and made that team better than England in the future, due to their presence in the team and England's depleted talent (even though, they technically should play for their proper country of origin), I'm pretty sure it would annoy the hell out of most English fans, let alone if it happened, in anyone else's country. To do something like this in county or affiliate teams, is not such a big deal and it happens all the time, but when you're playing for your country, you should probably represent your country due to you being raised and having more in common with that country no?

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

Yup Stickboy, on reflection, you're right, I would be frustrated. So why DO the Saffas flee to the UK?

Posted by dsig3 on (August 8, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

Warnie has always been a good judge of character. Bopara doesnt want for talent and style, he just doesnt have the mindset to live up to his potential.

Posted by stickboy on (August 8, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

yeah ben I agree with the idea that your genes don't mean you are or aren't 'english' or 'australian' or whatever, but if you're brought up in a country that has in some way defined you and then all of a sudden you get a citizenship and play for another country, it can be a bit frustrating for fans of teams that those players should be playing for due to their truer nationality. Hypothetically, imagine if all of a sudden, for whatever reason the best English players (or from your country) decided to move to Australia or even Zimbabwe, because they would get payed more or something like that (for instance), and somehow or rather got their citizenship there and started playing for that country and beating the country that they were brought up in, or whatever country you happened to go for, would you be happy with that? Would you think, that Zimbabwe or Australia would deserve the credit for that, or rather the country that the majority of their culture and cricket skills were developed?

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

My guess is that the Trecothick references are right, Bopara is depressed (have a look at the photo Cricinfo have popped into this article). In which case I wish him all the best. I love these comments that England's team is NOT 100% 'English.' Is the South African team 100% African? Or the Aussie team 100% Australian? Not if we map the genes of the players involved ... The point is that 'the cricket playing nations' are predominately products of the British Empire, within which migration/colonisation from Britain to the colonies and migration from the colonies back to Britain is a long-standing historical pattern. Complaints that England is not English are positively Canute-like (if not Enoch Powell-like). LOL!

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 7, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

Big blow for the Lions. Awful batsmen who is the perfect example of why the talent is so thin in England.

Posted by EthylMormon on (August 7, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

"I just hope Ravi doesn't turn out like another Marcus Trescothick"

A test batsmen with 5825 runs at 43.79? I hope he does.

Posted by threeslipsandagully on (August 7, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

@Dashgar Your point is completely invalid. Of the five "non-English" players, Meaker moved to England as a child, Compton's pedigree speaks for itself, Harris is Welsh and thus was always eligible for England, Kieswetter has been on Somerset's books since he was eighteen and Morgan would be unable to play at the level he's capable of playing at for Ireland. You speak of this as if it's a recent development when just about EVERY test-playing nation has fielded players born outside of the country they're representing for well over a century.

Posted by serious-am-i on (August 7, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

I just hope Ravi doesn't turn out like another Marcus Trescothick.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

What is wrong with him?

Posted by Dashgar on (August 7, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

And I thought the national (national pfft) team was bad. Only six English born players in this starting XI for the Lions. One or two here and there isn't a problem but it's beyond an epidemic now. The ICC need to step in and force England to pick English players.

Posted by landl47 on (August 7, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

I'm sorry for Ravi, but the result is that the Lions team is unbalanced, with only 4 specialist batsmen plus Patel and Kieswetter. On the other hand, they have 3 seamers and 3 spinners. The Australians, meanwhile, have the opposite situation: they have only 2 seamers and 2 spinners, with really no-one else to even turn their arm except maybe Tom Cooper, who has 4 first-class wickets. It's going to be fascinating to see whether too much batting can conquer too much bowling, or vice versa.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 15:42 GMT)

Does anyone have any idea what's going on with Ravi? He has his critics but is too good of a player in my opinion for the highly overrated England team which played decent cricket over the last couple of years against teams who are on their way down at home.

Posted by MiddlePeg on (August 7, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

Ravi mate, go and take two weeks in the South of France, talk through your family issues and relax. Forget the international set up for the time being; it sounds as if the England dressing room is one to clearly avoid at Lord's anyway. Go and have a croissant under an umbrella in the sun...

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