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

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links