Cricket: Ravi Bopara handed another chance

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RAVI Bopara has been given what could be a final chance to prove himself with England after he was surprisingly included in the host nation’s Champions Trophy squad.

The Essex all-rounder has been in and out of the international set-up in all three formats, with England consistently swayed by his natural ability and disappointed by a lack of consistency. Although he was in the 30-man provisional party for the tournament, the fact that he had not been selected in either of the squads since Ashley Giles took over the limited-overs reigns looked likely to count him out.

He has not played for England since last September, having compiled just 22 runs in four innings against South Africa. At the time he appeared desperately short of confidence and it was no surprise to see him left out of the one-day trips to India and New Zealand earlier this year.

England, though, have been persuaded to take another chance on a player who averages 30.62 in 83 ODIs. Bopara’s return counted against the dropped Samit Patel, while fellow all-rounders Luke Wright and Rikki Clarke also missed the cut. Thirteen of the 15 places in the squad were effectively cemented several weeks ago, with the identity of the spare seamer the only other point of debate. Chris Woakes won a head to head battle with Jade Dernbach for that slot.

Squad: AN Cook (Essex, capt), JM Anderson (Lancashire), JM Bairstow (Yorkshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), RS Bopara (Essex), TT Bresnan (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), JC Buttler (Somerset) (WK), ST Finn (Middlesex), EJG Morgan (Middlesex), JE Root (Yorkshire), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), JC Tredwell (Kent), IJL Trott (Warwickshire), CR Woakes (Warwickshire).