Champions Trophy 2013 May 3, 2013

Bopara earns Champions Trophy recall


Ravi Bopara has been recalled for the Champions Trophy as part of England's 15-man squad. There is also a place for Chris Woakes, the Warwickshire allrounder, while Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann are back after their respective elbow surgeries.

Bopara was dropped after the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka at the end of a difficult period for him which included him withdrawing from the Test squad against South Africa last summer for personal reasons. His batting form faded dramatically towards the latter part of the 2012 English season, although his bowling proved increasingly effective in one-day cricket. Against South Africa he made scores of 16, 0, 6 and 0 having earlier had a productive series against Australia.

Last week he was named in the England Lions squad to face New Zealand, an indication he was firmly in the selectors' thoughts, although his batting returns in the early stages of the Championship season have been unconvincing with 118 runs at 23.60. In his 83-match ODI career Bopara has made 1899 runs at 30.62 and taken 20 wickets at 37.25.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "He's been given another opportunity because we know what's he capable of doing," he told Sky Sports News. "He's got all aspects to his game - the bowling has come on very well - batting-wise, we know what he can do and he's good in the field as well. But let's not talk about one person, this is a squad and it's about them all performing."

It is difficult to see where Bopara fits into the starting XI unless he is entrusted as a fifth bowler at No. 7 or forces his way past the in-form Joe Root. However, Root's start to the season and early days of his ODI career make him very difficult to leave out. In the absence of Kevin Pietersen, Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler will need to provide the spark in the middle order.

Elsewhere in the squad the names of the likely reserve players are as expected. Jonny Bairstow will provide batting and wicketkeeping cover, Woakes will push for one of the allrounder places having replaced Bresnan for the one-day series in New Zealand and James Tredwell is the back-up spinner.

There is something of a risk in naming both Bresnan and Swann so soon into their returns from injury as, should their problems flare up, replacements are not allowed for pre-existing conditions. However, the early signs from both players in the County Championship are that their elbows have reacted well to the operations.

Reports are that Bresnan's pace is back to somewhere near his 2011 standard, while Swann had a good workload in his first outing of the season against Durham. Swann is likely to feature in the Test series against New Zealand this month while Bresnan could also come into contention.

"The Champions Trophy provides this England squad with a great opportunity to win a global 50-over event, something we have yet to achieve, and we are excited to be playing on home soil," Miller said.

Of players who have recently been involved in England's one-day set-up ,there is no place for Jade Dernbach or Samit Patel. The same 15-man squad will also play the three-match ODI series against New Zealand which precedes the Champions Trophy.

Squad Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Chris Woakes

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 6, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    England's squad was always likely to be the most predictable and the selectors have decided not to throw any curveballs in this time. Bairstow's the reserve bat/WK, Tredwell is the reserve spinner and the only question seems to be which one of Woakes, Bresnan and Bopara will take the final spot.Woakes is a better bat than Bresnan, Bresnan is a better, or at least more experienced, bowler than Woakes and Bopara is talented but inconsistent- he could be a real asset with both bat and ball but could equally be a total bust.

    I think Woakes is the closest thing England has to a genuine allrounder, so I'd start the tournament with him in the #7 slot and as 5th bowler. If he doesn't work out, either of the other two could step in. I believe England's chances really rest on whether Morgan and Buttler can carry the middle order and make quick runs when needed.

    It's a decent squad, but a tad short of flair (in captaincy as well as skill). Maybe a semi-finalist, but I doubt if they'll win it.

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    Rikki Clarke would have been a better option than Bopara. Otherwise the rest of the squad picks itself.

  • Dean on May 4, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    @ Barry glynn, I don't really get wot u r saying when u say eng insist on picking so many bits n pieces players. We have been in that position many times before but this is a squad of specialists, the only member of the squad who even remotly comes close 2 that tag is bopara although I would argue he's a batsman who can bowl some useful medium pace in ltd overs cricket. As 4 prior @r u 4 real nick, has already told u why he hasn't been selected & as he says its something which has been debated on these pages many times & It's time 2 move on.

  • John on May 4, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    I don't think it really matters re other batsmen getting in the squad as I'd say right now the top 6 of Cook,Bell,Trott,Morgan,Butler,Root is (barring injuries) done and dusted so anyone else would just be a squad player.

    I'd also say (barring injuries) that 4 of the 5 bowlers in Swann,Broad,Jimmy and Finn are pretty much nailed on. So the only place that's up for grabs IMO is the number 7 which they could use Tredwell as a 2nd spinner (3rd if you inc Root) , Bopara (for his batting skills compared to the other candidates and the fact that he offers something different to the bowling attack) or Woakes or Bresnan.

  • John on May 4, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    @ R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (May 3, 2013, 21:19 GMT) Thanks , but the article I'm referring to was only written a day or so before this one. I was responding to Lmaotsetung+-cric_J re posts on Wright's possible inclusion and Lm's point why we don't play more part time bowlers like India - saying India have better part timers in these formats than us , maybe better part timers than their full timers

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Strange why England insist on so many bits and pieces players for limited over games. Yes you need five bowlers but not picking Prior as one if the obvious all rounders is bizarre. Players like Bresnan and Bopara are consistently picked for their all round skills. But when, for example, was the last time Bresnan scored any runs and when was the last time Bopara scored any runs or took any wickets?

  • harsh on May 4, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I would had loved to see Alex Hales in there ...i think he can compliment cook very well as a dasher raather then bell which makes two of the same kind at the top and also he has that x factor which is missing from this side becoz of KP'S absence ...but overall a nice squad acc. to English conditions and this time england might go all the way in a global one-day tournament

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    sad to see kp missing out due to injury hope he returns back sooner

  • Andrew on May 4, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    I really don't think Bresnan is much chop in the 50 over format, (now cue a 5-wicket haul & a dazzling 50+ or two). Woakes is a great choice, Bopara a bit here & there. Swann & Treeadwell mean England will have a great spin combo to choose from & the young batsmen in the squad is full of promise, but minus a BIT in actual deeds. All up a good squad that SHOULD reach the Semi's. I think the bowling is a little bland in the pace department for the purposes of ODIs, but the batting SHOULD make up for it. I assume Root will bat @ #4, Morgan @ #5, & it's #6 & #7 that will be interesting!

  • Dilan on May 4, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    1cook 2bell 3trott 4root 5morgan 6bopara 7buttler 8broad 9swann 10finn 11anderson