Ravi Bopara reluctantly happy to apply the finishing touch

Batsman shows his mettle at No 7, but is keen to move up the order


Among the many issues confronting England's one-day team is the role of the finisher. This is the chap with steel nerves and calculating brain who knows exactly how to pace the end of an innings, usually when chasing a target and seeing the team home.

Perhaps the embodiment of the finisher was Michael Bevan of Australia. England have never had anybody in his class, but then few sides have. The finisher now is Ravi Bopara, who offered a mini-masterpiece of the art on Sunday night.

Faced with a perilous position of 81 for 5, which became 107 for 7, Bopara calmly guided England home – much more calmly than his captain Stuart Broad who was a cat on a hot tin roof – in scoring 38 from 59 balls. His task was eased by the number of overs left, complicated by their shortage of wickets in hand.

A calm demeanour and a rock solid temperament are not qualities automatically associated with Bopara over the years but after 101 one-day internationals, England seem content to entrust him with a vital role, though he is being expected to perform it at No 7 rather than No 6, the position traditionally occupied by the finisher. He is some way short of ecstatic.

"I guess that's what my role is," he said before England's practice for Wednesday's deciding match in the one-day series against West Indies. "Let's just say I have been given a role to play at No 7. If I was asked to go up the order, I'd snap off the hand of whoever makes the decision. But I've been given a role for England and play that role of finishing off an innings. I've got to be happy with it.

"I don't know how I ended up at seven. The only thing I can think of is that we're preparing for the T20. I batted at No 7 in the T20s in Australia and maybe they are keeping that same format at five, six, seven that we have in T20s. I'd have been 100 per cent happy batting up the order."

With all Bopara's experience – it is seven years since his first ODI – it is understandable that England should want him in a key position. On the other hand, a batsman with his array of strokes should be as effective at three or four. There is the conundrum for selectors.

Bopara has been there at the end nine times in winning causes in ODIs. He has failed to see it through a little more often even when scoring fifties. But he seems genuinely more settled now, a family man and budding entrepreneur with two fast food chicken franchises in London.

This is a big year for England in the limited-overs game with a World T20 next month and 50-over World Cup next year. Bopara, who intends to go on beyond that, still nurtures hopes of a return to the Test side, for which he may have to take his turn. If he could nail being a finisher, England would have cause to be deeply grateful.

* The injured pair of Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan both trained with the England squad but may not be considered for selection in Wednesday's deciding match in Antigua.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform