No tour for Bopara

ESSEX all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been harshly axed from the England set-up after the winter tours to South Africa were announced last week, WRITES MIKE SIMMONDS. Despite starting the Ashes series in the prime batting position of number three, Bopara, who

ESSEX all-rounder Ravi Bopara has been harshly axed from the England set-up after the winter tours to South Africa were announced last week, WRITES MIKE SIMMONDS.

Despite starting the Ashes series in the prime batting position of number three, Bopara, who was born in Forest Gate, was then ditched after the fourth Test and appears to have paid the price for a poor series, missing out on selection for both the Test and One-Day sides.

ECB national selector Geoff Miller explained the decision to drop the former Bram-pton Manor pupil from the side.

"Ravi Bopara will, of course, be disappointed not to be included in either squad, but he is a high class player and will remain in the selectors' thoughts as we go forward," he said.


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Prior to the announcement, Bopara had been tipped to make the trip to South Africa from none other than talismanic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who has just retired from the Test area due to injury.

He stated: "Ravi is a fantastic talent for English cricket and I'm certain he'll come good in Test cricket.

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"It's a joy to watch him play and he is the kind of exuberant character the game needs.

"I do think it's important that England should keep faith with him now.

"Looking back it was a mistake to ask Ravi to bat at number three in the Ashes series, but Ravi is one of the players who are the future, and we should back his talent."

At 24 years of age, Bopara still has time on his side though, and Essex great Graham Gooch believes he will bounce back.

"His form hasn't been good enough in the last few months. You have to earn the right to play for England," he said.

"I have every confidence in the boy's ability though, he is a very gifted player.

"He has to regain his confidence and the form he's capable of and if he does that then he'll play himself back into contention.

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