Champions Trophy: England go back to future as Ravi Bopara gets final chance

Selectors spring surprise by recalling Essex all-rounder for Champions Trophy

England’s selectors tend to avoid the unexpected. It is as if the present lot are making up for their predecessors in the previous hundred years or so, when it was only a surprise if there were no surprises.

Consistency is their watchword, continuity their mantra. The choice of Ravi Bopara in the squad for the Champions Trophy seems to have a foot in both camps.

It was unpredictable in that Bopara was omitted for the entire winter operations, but on the other hand a surefire bet given the selectors’ preferred perspective. They are not letting him go into the county sunset without giving him an opportunity to drink the last-chance saloon dry.

Bopara, 28 this weekend, has appeared in 83 one-day internationals for England out of the 141 they have played since he made his debut in 2007. He has never quite either nailed down his place or wholly convinced that this is where he belongs.

His recall for a tournament which England have genuine prospects of winning is predicated on several factors. The absence through injury of Kevin Pietersen left a vacant place for a batsman who also bowls and with such experience, Bopara had an obvious advantage. He is also always good to have around.Doubtless it helps too that Andy Flower, England’s coach, has always had a soft spot for Bopara and that Alastair Cook, the captain, grew up with him at Essex.

Flower no longer has direct responsibility for England’s limited-overs sides but he remains a selector for all teams. Naturally, he will have brought objectivity to bear but when you have played with a man, as Flower did in 109 matches for Essex, and when you have shared a partnership of 339, as Flower and Bopara did at Cardiff in 2006, it perhaps lends a different  aspect to proceedings. Flower knows intimately what Bopara can do.

Bopara has been preferred in the 15-man squad ahead of Samit Patel, who can consider himself a shade unfortunate. Patel has never been allowed the run of opportunity as a batsman by England that he might have  deserved but his slow left-arm bowling is not quite up to the mark often enough.

The rest of the squad is completely as expected. Both Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann are back following elbow operations, Jos Buttler is  retained as wicketkeeper after taking over from his Somerset colleague Craig Kieswetter in India in January, James Tredwell is given the second spinner’s berth having proved himself as worthy and reliable, Joe Root’s meteoric rise continues unabated.

Root was probably the last subject of a selection surprise when he was named in the team for the fourth Test against India in Nagpur in December having spent much of the tour carrying drinks, having nets and thumb twiddling. He made 73 and has never looked back.

From the look of it, Root will form the first-choice middle order with Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan and Buttler. The bowling will consist of Jimmy Anderson, Steve Finn, Stuart Broad, Bresnan or Chris Woakes and Swann.

England have failed too often before in major one-day tournaments for there to be any complacency about their prospects. Ten World Cups, six Champions Trophies, four finals, no victories, spell a tale of doom, gloom, poor planning and misguided strategy.

Last time the Champions Trophy was held in England in 2004, the hosts were defeated in the final after having West Indies apparently down and out. This squad looks properly assembled. Of the 15 players, seven are 26 or under, four are 30 or over. It has modernity on its side and in England next month that will count for plenty.

 

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR THE CHAMPIONS TROPHY...

 

A N Cook (Essex; capt) Age 28 Caps 64

J M Anderson (Lancs) 30 167

J M Bairstow (Yorks) 23 7

I R Bell (Warks) 31 127

R S Bopara (Essex) 28 83

T T Bresnan (Yorks) 28 69

S C J Broad (Notts) 26 96

J C Buttler (Somerset) 22 6

S T Finn (Midds) 24 33

E J G Morgan (Midds) 26 94

J E Root (Yorks) 22 8

G P Swann (Nottts) 34 76

J C Tredwell (Kent) 31 14

I J L Trott (Warks) 32 57

C R Woakes (Warks) 24 11

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine