Bopara ton likely to be in vain

February 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

Ravi Bopara was called up from the Lions tour to New Zealand, along with Amjad Khan as cover for the injured Andrew Flintoff. A terrific knock of 124 off 125 balls against the Barbados CA XI, couldn’t have done his hopes of selection any harm. However, with yet another flat Caribbean pitch it is likely that Bopara will miss out.

He was called up to travel to the West Indies just as soon as he had arrived in New Zealand for the Lions tour. Despite being jetlagged the Essex all-rounder was thrown straight into action. The all-rounder justified his call-up with a top score of 124, and in doing so, put his name in the hat for selection. That knock may well have just put himself in front of Ian Bell, and also favouring him, is the ability to bowl useful medium pacers. However, the Barbados wicket promises to be a typical, flat Caribbean wicket. With that in mind, Bopara’s good performance may well have been in vain.

With Flintoff out, England have a choice. Play 4 bowlers with 2 all -rounders in Collingwood and Bopara, or 5 bowlers. Based on current performances on this tour the latter will look the most appealing to the selectors and the most likely to yield the 20 wickets needed. Talk of the batting line-up being significantly weaker with this approach are not justified. Flintoff’s recent innings are not the mark of a batting all-rounder, so the player who comes in shouldn’t have to do too much to cover Flintoff’s contribution with the bat. The main problem of concern is who can cover his bowling, he is England’s “go to man”, and will definitely be missed.

Adil Rashid, the young leg spinner looks a tempting choice on another flat wicket. With doubts over the fitness of Greame Swann, that choice will also relieve the workload on the Notts Spinner. Monty Panesar will also come into the reckoning if this logic is used, but doubts remain over whether he is good enough to play at this level without too much variation. Sidebottom has a chance but with no swing offered will be a poor choice. Uncapped Amjad Khan is in the prime position. He offers as close to a like – for – like change than anyone else. His main weapon is his exertion of reverse swing with the new ball, which has found to be very useful on flat wickets.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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