Bopara deserves a run at number three

April 29, 2009 at 12:10 pm 2 comments

It is not common to be surprised by an England squad selection but this one managed to as Andy Flower made his mark. Experienced trio of Michael Vaughan, Ian Bell and Steve Harmison were overlooked along with Owais Shah. In come Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions. All three are likely to come straight into the team with Swann and Panesar vying for a likely single spin position. Bopara has been confirmed as England’s number three.

Ravi Bopara has earned a recall after successive failures of bell and Shah at three combined with his own good form last season and in his last test match. A 100 batting at number six against the West Indies in the Fourth Test demonstrated his ability and capability to perform at this level. His international test career didn’t get off to the best start with a poor series against Sri Lanka that lost him his place until the winter series. The talented Essex all-rounder now has a chance to stake a claim ahead of the summers Ashes. Bopara has grew as a cricketer since making his debut in 2006 and this recall is a reward for the hard work he has undertaken. Owais Shah looked uncomfortable at number three and has rightly been dropped. He is a good ODI player but doesn’t look suited to international test cricket. Ian Bell’s great start to the season has seen him alomost become favourite for the number three position. However, the selectors are under no illusion that Bell’s problems have been solved and are reluctant to recall him until they are sure he can retain his position.

Graham Onions was a shock selection in the England side, which is a reward for an explosive start to the county season with Durham. He has claimed 152 first class wickets at an average of 32 but this is the first time he has been called up. His call up was a shock, but means that Steve Harmison misses out despite a decent start to the season. He is likely to go straight into the team as the fourth pace-man. Joining him is Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan, who benefits from Flintoff’s injury to earn his first test call up. With England unlikely to play two spinners so early in the season, Swann and Panesar will be vying it out to take the sole spinner role, with Swann favourite for the position.

The balance of the team has been affected by Flintoff’s injury so England have taken the safe option to include two all-rounders to the team. Prior is likely to move up to 6th in the order, with Broad at 7. The selectors were keen to state that the door is not closed on Harmison, Bell or Vaughan but ultimately the correct decisions were taken in this squad announcement.

England squad: Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann.


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Morph  |  April 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    The team was in desperate need of an overhall and Bopara has the capability of sealing a place in the side. Although i do not agree with the selection of Bopara at number 3, i applaud the selectors overall sentiment with there choices in giving young players a go (especially as they have been picked over old favourites Vaughan, Harmison and Bell).

    I think that Bopara would be far more suited to a role in the middle order, as his range of shots and technique suggests to me that he would be very good when the ball is roughed up a bit. I don’t think at this moment in time he is capable of facing the new ball to the extent the role of number 3 demands, especially considering that he will soon be facing the likes of Mitchell Johnson and, possibly, Brett Lee/ Stuart Clarke etc. Remeber his test century against the Windies came batting at 6, not 3 as suggested in the article.

    As for Bresnan , i don’t particulary rate him as he is the type of bowler who goes around the park far too often, and lacks the penetration or cutting edge to take wickets consistantly. I think his batting ability has helped the selectors decision in picking him, as they do like players who can bat/bowl a bit.

    Onions however is a selection i am pleased with- a man of definate potential, my only concern is he plays at the bowler friendly Chester-le-Street with Durham, which may have helped him take a few extra wickets. That said, he has taken a lot of wickets recently and consistently in the past as well, so is deserves a go.

    • 2. englandcricket1  |  May 1, 2009 at 9:56 am


      I agree with some of your points but I think that Bresnan was a good choice. He has developed a lot since last playing for England and is a wicket taking bowler. He adds batting stability but an all-rounder is needed if you play 5 bowlers, particularly with England’s inconsistent batting.

      Also, I meant to say Bopara got 100 at number six, that was a typing error.


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